How CIOs will determine the future of business success through generative AI

Arvind Jain


Alongside the emergence of rapidly improving generative AI capabilities comes a transformative opportunity to elevate worker productivity at a level that we haven’t seen since the start of the information age. The broad applicability of generative AI has inspired teams across businesses in every industry imaginable to think about what their future AI-powered workflows may look like. 

For many organizations, executing on this vision has fallen upon the shoulders of CIOs and IT teams, now elevated from supporters of business operations to strategic drivers of workplace transformation. However, the opportunity brought about by generative AI, set to potentially increase global GDP by nearly 7% (almost $7 trillion) over a 10-year period, also comes with important uncertainties and risks for IT leaders to consider – including the risks of shadow IT and falling behind. 

To determine how the rise of generative AI has transformed strategies for CIOs and IT leaders, why priorities have shifted, and how CIOs should adapt to prepare their businesses for success in an increasingly AI-centric environment, we worked with ISG to conduct a survey of CIOs and IT leaders (VP level and above) across companies in the Americas and Europe with 1000+ employees. Here are some of the key findings from the report

IT leaders are willing to bet the farm on generative AI to accelerate workplace innovation and to stay ahead of the curve – cost isn’t as much of a consideration anymore.

Operating cost is still a top concern and performance metric for IT orgs. However, worries about cost are some of the lowest concerns on the list when it comes to generative AI implementation. The value of generative AI has been made clear, and budgeting trends will reflect the measured optimism shared by IT leaders – with budgets for generative AI by IT teams tripling by 2025.

CIOs see information synthesis and discoverability as the most impactful generative AI capabilities for businesses. 

IT leaders pointed towards customer chat (43%), search that proactively answers questions (41%), and interpretation of written content (41%) as the most important and impactful capabilities for today’s generative AI solutions. Less geared towards new content creation and more towards information synthesis and discovery, these capabilities lean on generative AI's capacity to illuminate the information lying hidden away and unused in each businesses' databases.

Shadow IT is one of the greatest risks when it comes to progress – uncertainties could influence CIOs to delay, positioning organizations behind the competition.

Most agree that generative AI will usher in a new wave of shadow IT, posing serious risks in terms of data security. More than half of all respondents are considering slowing down adoption of new technologies rather than risking negative consequences. However, the majority of respondents say they're not yet definitively ahead of their competitors when it comes to generative AI adoption and experimentation, indicating general uncertainty when it comes to most businesses’ state of AI readiness.

These factors point to a uniquely challenging landscape for CIOs. IT leaders will need to cut through the hype to find the right generative AI tools and rapidly kick off digital transformation to prevent their businesses from falling behind, all without compromising on safety and security. They’ll need to help their businesses determine the right strategy when adopting new generative AI capabilities, including best-practices to ensure employees are using new tools effectively and safely. With the pace of progress, they’ll also need to consistently experiment and iterate as they pursue novel possibilities and work solutions. 

It’s critical today that CIOs, instead of slowing down and falling behind, instead stay active and look for smarter, more secure investments to integrate. For more insights on how the advent of generative AI is causing CIOs and IT leadership to adapt, get the full eBook below.

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