The landscape of artificial intelligence has witnessed a seismic shift from 2017 to 2022, with a notable surge in businesses embracing AI across various functional realms. Standing at the forefront of this evolution is generative AI (genAI), a revolutionary technology powered by foundation models and neural networks. Unlike conventional AI, genAI possesses the unique capability to not only process but also create original content, spanning a diverse array of outputs like audio, code, images, text, and even intricate simulations.
As businesses embark on the genAI journey, its potential is only starting to unfold, changing rapidly with its evolving capabilities. For instance, in sectors like fashion and luxury, genAI promises to unlock up to $275bn in profits over the next five years, revolutionising areas such as marketing, customer service, and operations. Retail and consumer goods sectors also stand to gain significantly, with potential benefits ranging from $400bn to $660bn annually.
Recent studies suggest that genAI could amplify the impact of all AI technologies by 15 to 40 percent. This is largely due to its wide applicability and ease of access. Its deployment is already witnessing diverse applications, from streamlining legacy systems in banking to fast-tracking clinical trials in the pharmaceutical sector.
GenAI’s impact extends to the transformation of work itself. Predictions indicate that it could automate up to 70 percent of tasks currently performed by employees, potentially boosting global productivity and adding significant economic value, particularly in domains like customer operations, marketing, sales, software engineering, and R&D.
However, the path to harnessing genAI’s full potential is not without its challenges. Many companies fall into the ‘experimentation trap’, engaging in short-term proofs-of-concept (POCs) that often fail to integrate into real-world workflows or address core business needs. To truly leverage genAI, businesses must adopt a ‘how-to-scale’ mindset, focusing on overcoming barriers and integrating genAI into their operations.
A more effective strategy involves a three-step approach: starting with a clear understanding of the organization’s broader strategy and identifying the most fitting tools for problem-solving; building capabilities driven by use cases and domain needs; and preparing the workforce for a genAI-forward future, focusing on enhancing the employee experience and skill development.
In the dynamic and sometimes turbulent waters of genAI, leaders must navigate with both caution and vision. The goal isn’t just to experiment but to create lasting value and strategic advantage. By moving beyond POCs and embracing a comprehensive approach, organizations can activate the ‘flywheel effect’ — a virtuous cycle of delivering impactful solutions, gaining business traction, and building scalable foundations for long-term value creation.
With genAI, the potential for accelerated growth and innovation is immense, promising to revolutionise the way businesses operate and compete.