generative AI

The time to embrace AI in the workplace is now, and not just in terms of coming up with great ideas to apply it, but to actually push those ideations to pilot testing and integration to fully leverage generative AI’s potential, according to the CIO Priorities 2024 report from the Info-Tech Research Group, published on Feb. 6, 2024.

“In 2024, generative AI is like an elephant in the C-suite office trumpeting its demands to be addressed,” said Brian Jackson, Principal Research Director and the lead analyst for the report. “This technology introduces significant opportunities and challenges. The critical question for CIOs and IT leaders is which capabilities need enhancement to leverage these opportunities, and which initiatives should be prioritized to navigate the accompanying enterprise risk effectively.”

The report comes with five “Top Priorities to Capitalize on Generative AI in 2024,” a list of guidelines, or advice, to help businesses move from discussing the possibility of integrating AI, to developing a plan, making adjustments so that AI can be implemented to enhance productivity, setting up a structure of roles and responsibilities, and updating vendor risk assessments to prevent any supply-chain disruptions.

The report is based on in-depth interviews with numerous CIOs of large organizations, those with over 2,500 employees, and IT budgets of over $100 million, to CIOs of smaller companies with IT budgets under $1 million. The industries represented included media, technology, construction, transportation, government, manufacturing, gaming and hospitality, financial services and non-profits. The interviews were done on an international scale, with respondents from the U.S., Canada, the Middle East, Great Britain, India, Central America and South America.

The report advises CIOs and IT leaders to be the change agents: “To transcend traditional IT management roles to become the drivers of innovation, with generative AI serving as the critical vehicle in this journey.”

A major theme of report is that a bold approach is essential to reap the rewards of generative AI, and to think outside the box in applying AI. A top to bottom evaluation of the company’s functions and capabilities must be undertaken to consider where AI would make the biggest transformation.

The report divided the respondents’ respective organizations into two categories: Higher IT Maturity and Lower IT Maturity. The higher category, 154 in total, was defined as those companies that are more proactive; the majority of them expanding or transforming the business. The lower category included 530 respondents, at varying stages of “struggling,” “supporting” or “optimizing the business.”

The priorities are drawn from the Higher IT Maturity category, practices among those respondents that helped them maximize generative AI in their respective workplaces. The priorities are listed as:

  • Augment the business with Generative AI
  • Right-size AI governance
  • Update vendor risk assessments
  • Exponentially increase innovation
  • Exponentially improve customer experience

One area where AI has helped numerous businesses is in human resources, during the hiring process and for some routine tasks. Teri Ellison, the chief human resource officer for SHL, a talent management firm in the U.K., said last December, “AI is going to revolutionize HR. It will be introduced faster into HR than ever previously thought, and we will soon all be using it to ease the hiring process and automate regular HR tasks. These automated functions may even force HR employees to redefine their work. HR will also continue to go more commercial and work with leaders to help drive the change that needs to be driven. Top HR executives will be more involved in company strategy than ever before.”

Glassdoor’s 2024 Workplace Trends report states that AI may leave some potential clients longing for peer-to-peer interaction. “The large-scale, commercial application of generative AI and large language models are marvels of scientific achievement. While they’re very likely to enhance long-term productivity,  the impacts on labor productivity are unlikely to be immediately visible in official statistics. In the interim, there are also risks that – like many new technologies – they could exacerbate the social isolation that has become endemic across American society and the workplace.”