Writer: Gen AI embraced by enterprise as key growth enabler

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Generative AI is not a fad, at least not to those in the enterprise. According to a survey conducted by Writer, nearly all CIOs and tech decision-makers say they expect AI to be a “key enabler” for their companies. This is a sign that businesses have moved on from speculating about the technology’s impact and now embrace and trust it.


“It’s a hype cycle,” Andrew Racine, Writer’s vice president of demand generation and growth acknowledges. This is why the company began researching how enterprises viewed AI. The team contacted 500 executives and AI professionals for firsthand experiences and opinions. Racine says Writer began noticing some were going through the trough of despair from the aforementioned hype cycle — they worked to implement AI and addressed the needs of their CEO and board members but could not get the outputs to a high enough quality for it to make a dent on their business.

“Productivity is one thing, but are you actually solving business outcomes? Are you helping the business grow? Are you saving a relevant amount of costs along the way, rather than just making people a little bit more productive here and there? Those are the kind of themes we see here,” Racine says.

Survey Results

Here are some highlights:

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  • 82% of respondents declared gen AI use at their company will grow quickly over the next two years
  • IT operations (65%), customer support (64%) and security (54%) are the top business areas where gen AI will be most impactful
  • 97% of companies say new teams will be using gen AI, with those in training (31%), customer support (29%) and human resources (29%) leading the way
  • Unsurprisingly, an overwhelming majority believe more security measures are needed for gen AI in business (95%)
  • Data protection is also a significant concern when using gen AI in business (94%)
  • Data control and access are two significant concerns that are leading many companies to choose on-premises or virtual private solutions for gen AI needs
  • 78% say they’re planning to use a private solution
  • 61% reveal their companies have experienced AI hallucinations
  • 17% believe their in-house gen AI projects were “excellent,” but more than half say their efforts were “okay”
  • Security controls (69%), data governance (65%), and high quality (57%) are three important factors wanted by companies searching for a commercial gen AI platform
  • Nearly half of all companies (49%) say they’ll be using six or more AI solutions within two years

What CIOs want the CEOs to know

While other research probing AI adoption might focus on employees or managers, Writer’s survey predominantly targeted executives in the C-suite, general managers, and other senior-level personnel, although the final report does not. Racine explains that receiving executive-level buy-in from IT teams is critical to ensure technology is compliant and safe and will move the line of business adoption. However, without it, “We start to see just some of the little minimal gains from the technology.”

He remarks further: “A lot of times, the CIO in past lives was really just dependent on making sure the lights are on, the trains are moving, let’s not take risks, let’s just make sure that we’re not breaking anything or getting into trouble. Now there’s this new imperative on them, where they’re trying to be growth mindset folks — it’s not just keeping the lights on, it’s how can we do more with less, but at scale across our entire organization, with massive legacy operations that have been in place and have made people amazing careers for decades. And so there’s a real fundamental shift in how of how they’re looking at this.“

Writer’s survey does show admiration for gen AI, but the takeaways are meant for the CEOs and company board members. Racine views the results as an educational opportunity, helping those who didn’t take the survey understand why working collaboratively with IT is important when adopting new technology. It’s one thing for one or a small group of employees using a new tool, but you’ll need IT’s endorsement to ensure it makes it through the entire organization. Racine believes Writer’s survey can be used as a valuable data point by CIOs to inform others in the C-Suite.

This survey isn’t the first research Writer has commissioned to explore AI sentiment. However, Racine tells me the previous effort was focused more on marketing than the tech decision-makers. Regardless, Writer plans on making this report an annual event covering the state of gen AI adoption within the enterprise.

Updated as of April 4, 2024 at 8:38 am PT: Corrected to specify that Writer’s survey was targeted to a mix of executives, directors and managers and not just CIOs.

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