Enterprise AI Adoption: The Rapid Shift In Attitudes Towards GAI
Generative AI (GAI) is the most talked about technology in recent years and has broken all records in terms of its widespread adoption in both the consumer and enterprise domains. Since its mainstream debut in November 2022 the attitude towards Generative AI has changed significantly. On the consumer side we have gone from wide curiosity driven adoption to solid reliance on GenAI as people use it to augment their day to day activities. On the enterprise side the shift has been much more radical.
In this blog we will discuss how enterprise AI adoption has shifted and the underlying factors driving this change. We will also cover key accelerants that enterprises can leverage to minimize their risks while maximizing their returns from their GenAI programs.
The Evolution of Enterprise Attitudes Towards Generative AI
Early Resistance to GAI
The Generative AI Genie has left the proverbial bottle! According to the Salesforce State of IT report 86% of IT leaders expect Generative AI to soon play a prominent role at their organizations, 57% believe Generative AI is a “game changer”, 67% of IT leaders surveyed said they have prioritized Generative AI for their business within the next 18 months, and 33% said it was a top priority. The C-Suite has an even more aggressive perspective. In Accenture’s recent Pulse of Change research 2,300 C-suite leaders nearly all (97%) believe generative AI will be transformative and a game-changer for their company and industry. Right now, 44% are making big investments.
Enterprise AI adoption was initially quite slow as business leaders immediately recognized the significant security, privacy, and legal risks posed by GenAI. Many organizations responded by blocking employee access to external AIs and as a result employees moved to utilizing GenAI on their personal devices. Fast forward a few months and we are seeing an incredible reversal of direction. It has become clear in recent months that those that embraced GenAI early are already seeing large increases in productivity and those that are blocking its use are likely to fall behind. In the last six months, boardroom conversations have gone from “How effectively can you block access” to “How fast can you enable adoption?”
The Salesforce State of IT report outlines some of the key reasons why Enterprise AI adoption was slow initially. According to that report, nearly two in three CISOs (65%) said they can’t justify implementing generative AI yet because:
- Organizations have no tools that offer visibility into GenAI usage or guardrails for safe usage
- Generative AI will introduce new security threats to their data
- Their employees lack the skills to use it successfully
- Generative AI can’t yet integrate with their security stack
- Their organization lacks a unified data strategy
Gradual Enterprise AI Adoption, Acceptance and Exploration
Over the last few months, however, enterprise GenAI adoption has greatly accelerated. There are three primary drivers for this shift:
- First, the productivity gains are enormous and undeniable
- Second, GenAI brings a distinct competitive advantage
- Third, GenAI and AI in general is now a club to which business leaders want to belong!
Early adopters of Generative AI, such as Expedia who was lightning fast in introducing AI as part of their travel services or GitHub who introduced Copilot to enable AI assisted programming, have created a sense of comfort with the technology and also paved the way for broader acceptance.
In the last few months every organization has begun the process of exploring ways in which to include GenAI into their business both internally for their employees as well as externally for their customers.
The Gen AI Genie Unleashed
We are all witnessing one of the greatest paradigm shifts in our time. The AI movement is in full swing and just like the discovery of fire, the invention of the wheel and more recently, the Internet, we will look back on this time as a decisive milestone in human evolution.
In the business world, the GenAI Genie has been unleashed across enterprises large and small. And just like Genies don’t go back into bottles, there is no turning back. Whether an organization has an official policy or not, employees are using it. If it is not allowed at work, then it is being used on personal devices for work purposes. Even if organizations themselves are not building AI powered apps, they are using SaaS applications that have AI built into them. Even if it is blocked internally, employees have access to AI in hundreds of other ways.
AI as a general technology has been around for over a decade, in academic institutions and the research labs of large enterprises. Pivotal supporting innovation in the areas of high-performance computing, special search technologies such as vector databases, Large Language Models (LLMs) that make AI accessible to day-to-day people who are not scientists, have all come together to create this moment where AI has become mainstream.
Key Factors Driving the Rapid Enterprise Adoption Of Generative AI
A recent study from Accenture finds that enterprises that are not sanctioning the use of AI are seeing approximately 40% increases in employee productivity. An informal Portal26 survey found that the average employee utilizes GenAI in at least four ways to assist them in their job – the leading applications are
- To generate a starting point for presentations or documents
- To generate a starting point for code or to review code
- To replace traditional web research
- To assist in laborious tasks such as generating letters or structured responses
Competitive pressure is a very strong driver of enterprise AI adoption, both in terms of wanting to be perceived as a leader and also because of the very real uplift that products and services are seeing with the inclusion of AI, especially generative AI.
An interesting measure of how competitive pressure is fueling enterprise GenAI adoption, is the number of industry events where AI has dominated the agenda. All major security conferences including RSAC, Google Next, and most recently Dreamforce saw a clear domination of the AI agenda and correspondingly saw record turnout of people interested in learning about AI powered solutions as well as effective ways to utilize them. Analysts such as Gartner, Forrester and IDC have begun rapidly publishing research and analysis that further fuels adoption.
Changing Market Dynamics
AI has significantly altered market dynamics in two specific ways:
- First, AI actually improves the user experience and so customers are favoring AI powered products and services
- Second, investors are providing significantly higher valuations to AI powered businesses both in private and public markets
When business economics strongly support adoption, then what would otherwise be a technological innovation, becomes a movement of grand proportions. This is what we are witnessing with AI and GenAI.
Embracing Enterprise AI Adoption
The good news is that in the last few months, innovators have gone to work and created solutions that enable safe and effective adoption of generative AI technology in the enterprise. There are six key areas of focus that have enabled business leaders to overcome their initial resistance and jump on to the GenAI train. These are:
- Visibility – Invest in tools that enable you to know what AIs are being utilized across the organization, who is using them, and for what purpose. This will give valuable insights into effective ways to build AI into the business
- Policy – Create and enforce acceptable use policies. Ensure that they are granular enough to be useful in a variety of use cases and scenarios
- Risk Management – Catalog AI specific risks and determine appropriate mitigation strategies
- Data Privacy – Invest in data security and privacy controls to ensure that employees do not intentionally or inadvertently exfiltrate sensitive data; and also ensure that internal AIs are trained in accordance with data security and privacy rules
- Education – Invest in training employees on both how to use GenAI and also on the policies themselves
- Model quality – Utilize models that have been tested by independent third parties and certified as bias-free, soc2 certified, and compliant with regulations pertinent to your company
Portal26 dramatically reduces enterprise GenAI adoption risk
- Visibility – Rich visibility into usage and GenAI content
- Governance – This includes policy and risk management. The ability to create and enforce acceptable use policies and risk metrics for internal use or to send to GRC solutions
- Security – Data security and privacy controls and integration into existing DLP, SIEM, SOAR and incident management
- Education – The ability to trigger distribution of training materials at the time of AI access
This functionality drives the following valuable outcomes:
Previously Undiscoverable Critical Insights — Visibility provides the data and insights required to uncover and understand current productivity use cases as well as to build the guardrails, training and security for your program
Uncover & Manage Shadow AI – Ability to see unapproved and unsanctioned GAI use in the enterprise and the downside risks of such use – also known as Shadow AI.
Ongoing monitoring, governance, and compliance – You can’t manage what you can’t see. Real-time monitoring allows you to monitor, measure and evolve your guardrails and education programs to maximize productivity and program adoption, while maintaining compliance, security, and privacy
Immediately actionable – It can take as little as a day to get up and running to get the visibility that will be instrumental in getting a responsible, secure and compliant program started to deliver the productivity and growth promise of Generative AI.
Leverage your existing security controls —Portal26 connects GenAI usage to existing DLP, SIEM, SOAR, Incident Management and alerting controls to give security teams the ability to monitor and mitigate security risks.
Leveraging AI for Competitive Advantage
Once enterprises build a strong foundation that enables visibility into Generative AI usage and supports it with policy, data security, risk management, and education, such as with Portal26, they can fearlessly adopt AI and reap the enormous productivity and competitive advantage rewards. Generative AI offers at least four major types of competitive advantages:
- Speed to market – with GenAI as your copilot, you can bring products and services to market faster
- Speed of R&D – AI assisted research where AI is adding to new research directions, experimental techniques, and raw research into volumes of existing materials, is advancing both timelines as well as quality of research
- Natural user experiences – AI enables people to interact like humans would thus improving the users experience
- Cost savings – AI takes large amounts of tedious tasks off the plate for humans thus increasing human productivity and saving on costs
The Future of GAI in Enterprises
Innovation is the fuel for progress and AI, especially Generative AI has fostered a new era of progress. Over the next few years GenAI will rapidly evolve and we will see many of the initial challenges be accounted for and both models as well as interactions will improve. This continuous evolution, along with the explosive growth of AI powered applications in all areas of life and business, will fuel a new crop of businesses and therefore new AI focused products and services.
The taller the building, the deeper its foundation needs to be – and so, for generative AI to be richly utilized in the fabric of business itself, it needs to have an unwavering foundation built on rich visibility both into the AI models themselves as well as into their usage, purpose and content. This needs to feed into policy and risk management. It also needs to be tightly connected into the security stack for monitoring, incident reporting, and data security/privacy compliance.
Portal26 offers the industry’s first and most powerful GenAI analytics and insights platform. Built on Portal26’s rich data security core, Portal26’s GenAI solution offers five key elements for successful GenAI adoption – visibility, policy, risk. security, and education.
Enterprise GenAI adoption is accelerating faster than any technology previously. Along with this enormous opportunity, enterprises are also facing significant risks. Portal26 delivers the essential foundation for an enterprise Generative AI program with unprecedented visibility, insight, governance, and risk mitigation so that Portal26’s customers can fearlessly embrace AI and reap its enormous benefits.
Ready to harness Gen AI’s power within your Enterprise?
Alternatively, read our CXO Guide for Generative AI Governance + Responsible Use today.
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4 Ways Generative AI Will Impact CISOs and Their Teams
Many business and IT project teams have already launched GenAI initiatives, or will start soon. CISOs and security teams need to prepare for impacts from generative AI in four different areas:
- “Defend with” generative cybersecurity AI.
- “Attacked by” GenAI.
- Secure enterprise initiatives to “build” GenAI applications.
- Manage and monitor how the organization “consumes” GenAI.
Download this research to receive actionable recommendations for each of the four impact areas.