The Impact of Generative AI on enterprises

By Manav Gupta, CTO and VP, IBM Canada

January 18, 2024

2023 was the year Generative AI made its way to the mainstream and rocketed up the business agenda. This year, almost two thirds (60 per cent) of C-suite leaders will be piloting Gen AI solutions,...

2023 was the year Generative AI made its way to the mainstream and rocketed up the business agenda. This year, almost two thirds (60 per cent) of C-suite leaders will be piloting Gen AI solutions, according to IBM’s Institute for Business Value.

I had the pleasure of speaking to Anuja Sheth, SVP Network and Technology Services at Bell, to get her view on the enhancements AI is making.

Anuja kicked off our discussion by explaining that Gen AI is an enabler for business transformation. When digital technology and AI is embedded into every function within an organization, and every business process, it can make an impact across every part of the business. I asked Anuja where AI is adding value at Bell:

  1. The first is in customer experience. The hyper-personalisation that is possible with AI is transformative, whether that’s a customer buying a service or seeking support for a service
  2. The other is within networking and technology services, and a few domains under this umbrella. These include the ability to properly capacity plan, optimise costs, and make use of automated incident detection and resolution.
  3. And finally, employee experience. AI can act as a personal advisory tool, helping them boost productivity and giving them access to a broader pool of ideas that can spur innovation. It’s been transformative for software developers in particular – there’s always a shortage of these skilled workers across the industry - and Gen AI enables them to do more with the same amount of resource.

The introduction of any technology brings with it a risk reward balance. Anuja made the great point that as enterprises start to experiment with Gen AI use cases, they should consider that it needs to be embedded across the whole business for it to become useful at scale. It mustn’t be seen as something which is being imposed on employees, but rather a way of working and an integral part of culture and processes.

Taking a holistic approach is essential. There must be strong collaboration between teams – such as governance and policy – so that more people are looking at the data. The greater the diversity in skillset, the greater the diversity of viewpoint, leading to better outcomes for the business. Training has a huge role to play in Gen AI rollout – data bias needs to be understood and data privacy must be embedded into every team and process.  

The explosion in attention AI is receiving today has made me think more and more about how we as industry professionals can differentiate between what’s real and what’s hype. I posed the question to Anuja, who shared the important reminder that technology exists to solve a business need. It’s not about the next coolest trend. Business value is what matters, and that’s how we can extract the value from the noise.

You can watch my LinkedIn Live discussion with Bell’s Anuja Sheth here.

Some of you reading this will be well into your own AI journeys, and some only just beginning. To round off our conversation, I asked Anuja what she’d recommend to a business or professional looking to venture into the world of AI. I’ll leave you with her great insights:

  • Be open to using the technology, there’s always resistance when something new is introduced, but it will be worth it.
  • Partner closely with product and business teams. Cross collaboration is very important for receiving continuous feedback and seeing the real value.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of diversity of ideas and opinions. If you have concerns, voice them – the more proactive you are, the better outcomes you’ll deliver for customers, colleagues, and employees.
  • Take opportunities you have to reskill and upskill.  AI isn’t a niche field and being a self-starter will open avenues for learning.

To view this LinkedIn Live session, and learn more about the impact of Generative AI on enterprises, click here.

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