2024 is poised to be a watershed year for the entire business world as AI will be further shaping all business operations, outcomes and futures. Most urgently, the influence of AI on financial performance will reach a critical inflection point for companies across all industries, confirms new research from contract intelligence firm Icertis, which surveyed 500 senior executives at businesses across the U.S. and U.K. to get their perspectives on how the tech supernova will transform the workforce, data privacy, the competitive landscape, and more.
The firm’s inaugural AI impact report, The Future of Generative AI: C-Suite Perspectives for 2024 and Beyond, finds that nearly half of senior leaders surveyed agree AI will impact their bottom line in 2024, and 56 percent are prioritizing AI use cases that have an immediate impact on revenue or cost. However, an escalating level of discord will create new areas of opportunity to reimagine strategic advantage with AI—and will also significantly widen the division between AI leaders and those who haven’t been able to figure it out, with no shortage of collateral damage.
“We are living in a revolutionary era for technology with the proliferation of generative AI, yet the question remains whether AI will live up to the hype in terms of its value for businesses. According to this survey from Icertis, the resounding answer from forward-looking leaders is yes—and the profound effects of AI on the enterprise are imminent,” said Monish Darda, CTO and co-founder of Icertis, in a news release. “2024 will be pivotal to determine which use cases deliver tangible outcomes as companies tap into rich data pools that exist within their own organizations, enabling them to harness the full power of AI and bring it to life across critical functions like legal, finance, procurement, and ESG initiatives.”
Leaders are almost equally concerned about the impact of AI on data privacy and security (42 percent), the workforce (42 percent), company financials (41 percent), company technology strategy (37 percent), industry competition (37 percent), and the regulatory environment (34 percent). However, an analysis of these key themes reveals discord and
Key findings include:
Senior leaders disagree on AI budget governance
About a third (34 percent) of executives believe the CEO should oversee the AI budget, another 33 percent believe it should be the responsibility of the CTO or CIO, and the remainder are split among various collaborations across the C-suite. Notably, 22 percent of U.K. executives believe the AI budget is owned by the CFO, compared to only 8 percent of U.S. leaders who share this perspective, showcasing diverging points of view on the role of finance.
Financial implications from AI are imminent
Nearly half of C-suite leaders agree AI will impact their bottom line in 2024, while an additional 36 percent predict its financial effects will be realized in the next two to five years. Revenue and cost cutting are the predominant goals of generative AI programs in 2024: 56 percent of leaders are prioritizing AI use cases that have an immediate impact on revenue or cost, and 37 percent are prioritizing risk management use cases.
Competition will be catalyzed by AI adoption
Well over half (56 percent) of C-suite execs surveyed agree that AI will incite greater competition by minimizing gaps between competitors, compared to 21 percent who believe AI will lessen competition by exaggerating gaps between early adopters and laggards.
AI will become the strategic partner that sits next to you in the boardroom
Nearly all (90 percent) of executives are concerned that AI will ultimately automate strategic initiatives managed by the C-suite, but 52 percent are planning to create new mid-to-senior level positions in 2024 directly tied to AI. Execs also believe employment levels will be the top macro-economic factor driving AI adoption in the year ahead as they seek opportunities to leverage technology in a tight labor market.
Leaders are willing to stall AI innovation in the name of ethics
The largest contingent (42 percent) favors government regulations around AI that prioritize responsibility and ethics over the opportunity for innovation. This sentiment is directionally higher in the U.K. at 46 percent vs. 38 percent in the U.S. In comparison, 30 percent of senior leaders favor government regulations that prioritize AI innovation and offer the opportunity for faster development.
Data security is the cornerstone of trust in AI vendors
Data security strategy is the top factor influencing trust in AI technology vendors among executives. Nearly half of C-suite leaders are discouraging employees from sharing company data with public AI models like ChatGPT, including financials, contract data, tech development data, and customer data, in the interest of protecting sensitive information.