Accenture recently announced a $3 billion investment in AI to help companies build a stronger technology base and advance the skills needed to achieve greater growth, efficiency and future flexibility. i met leader muqsit ashraf Accenture StrategyTo discuss how generative and other AI will permanently transform the C-suite – at a time when technology itself is rapidly changing – and how business leaders can maximize the value of their investments what needs to be done.

Gary Drenick: Muksit, in your role overseeing Accenture Strategy, you work with the board, CEO and C-suite executives to define and address their most important challenges in areas such as technology, data and AI-driven reinvestment and transformation . What is the most common question you hear from CEOs about AI?

Muqsit Ashraf: In every conversation I’ve had with CEOs over the past year, technology — and AI in particular — has come up in every discussion, which is also a significant change from pre-pandemic levels.

Generative AI remains one of the top priorities for CEOs. This was echoed in our June survey of over 2,300 C-suite leaders: Almost all (97%) believe that Generative AI will be transformative and a game-changer for their company and industry. Right now, 44% are investing heavily.

Why? In today’s environment they need to change faster than ever. This is supported by the Accenture Global Disruption Index which ranked disturbance has increased 200% in the last five years.

Against this backdrop, CEOs are asking how they can accelerate their business strategies to improve performance. They are wary of repeating the mistakes of earlier digital transformations, where too many companies got bogged down in strict experimentation rather than implementation. In the case of generative AI, we’re asking them questions about how to get started, how to get the right data, focus your investments, and accelerate your journey to value.

Drenik: We often hear of AI as the differentiator, while cloud acts as the enabler and data acts as the driver. Let me tell you what this means for executives looking to supercharge their strategy with technology.

Ashraf: In our latest research, we look at what these levels of disruption and the current macroeconomic environment mean for companies and their business strategy. Whereas historically strategy development was always about making difficult choices, today it is about making even more difficult choices in a short timeline.

Yet, when we analyzed more than 1,600 companies across 18 industries, we found only one in five (21%) were fully integrating technology into their strategy development. This small group of tech-forward companies is increasingly considering technology as an important input in shaping their business strategy. And it paid off – tech-forward companies were 2.3 times more likely to outperform their peers in terms of revenue growth.

I often use the term “supercharged” because at a time when leaders are constantly thinking about the next step—whether it’s increasing performance or creating a more diverse workforce, for example—the focus is on what they can do first. What have you been doing since? To do so at the next level and at speed. Having the foresight and willingness to prioritize investing in supercharged technology, building talent teams with the skills to meet the challenges of today and the future, and – as leaders have access to more real-time data – to continually re-evaluate strategy is in

Drenik: For a long time, it was accepted that roles such as chief information officers and chief technology officers were expected to know more about emerging technology than their peers. But statistics show that most adults in America are not even aware of the latest advances in technology. according to a recent news Prosper Insights & Analytics In the survey, 40% of 18+ respondents had not heard of ChatGPT.

About 50% reported that they did not understand what the Metaverse was. Does this current inflection point with AI change how CEOs should think about this or even the responsibility they have as CEOs – in making sure AI is practiced responsibly?

Ashraf: For years, the chief information officer was seen as the sole owner of the technology, and was largely muted in assessing the strategic application of emerging technology, for example. Now, it has become a strategic imperative that the entire C-suite needs to be tech-fluent.

When we look at tech-forward companies, three-quarters of them have both a tech-fluent CEO and a tech-fluent C-suite (17% more than other organizations). This need to be tech-fluent is even more important in the context of practicing AI responsibly. As generic AI becomes more prevalent in the workforce, it is essential for companies to establish responsible AI programs and processes to address ethical concerns, and that starts at the top with the CEO.

Like other technologies, we know that AI has its limits – such as being only as good as the data and assumptions on which they are based. At its core, AI needs good data. Instead of measuring data quality across the thousands of data points present in a business, companies must consider the relevance of their data and align it to specific use cases according to business needs.

However, all of this hinges on the assumption that organizations are designing and deploying AI responsibly from the outset. Otherwise, officials may risk faith They have built up with customers, employees, businesses and society at large.

Drenik: How have these changes affected the relationship between business and technology leaders?

Ashraf: In the current environment, the relationship between business and technology leaders must be strengthened. our research suggests generative ai It has the potential to replace 40% of all working hours. Going back to my earlier point, fluency in technology is essential, and by effectively speaking the same language, C-suite leaders can break down pre-existing silos and move beyond a transactional relationship.

Drenik: If you could give one piece of advice to CEOs who are looking at the current wave of AI spending and thinking, “What do I need to do,” what would it be?

Ashraf: Start by assessing the value potential of AI in the context of your business and your industries. Make sure AI is a true differentiator that enables productivity, customer experience, capital efficiency, business resilience And much more – not only technology in search of a use case.

CEOs who want to profitably invest in AI and technologies like generative AI must:

  • Focus the AI ​​agenda on select projects (rather than multiple proofs of concept).
  • Prioritize based on impact and ease of adoption. The impact should scale across the most complex processes in an organization, and ease of adoption should consider technology maturity, enterprise readiness, and cost.
  • Rethink how the way we work with AI is fundamentally changing. Encourage teams to experiment quickly and have the flexibility to scale up investments if necessary.
  • Identify and engage personally with a strategic ecosystem of partners committed to shared success (CEO-to-CEO).

Ultimately, go beyond hype about how peers or competitors are using the technology, and instead base your AI strategy on value and a willingness and commitment to fundamentally rethink the way things work.

Drenik: Fascinating, and really speaks to the importance of AI and technology as a differentiator across all dimensions of business. Thanks, Mukshit, for sharing your insight on the integration of AI, technology and data and how important it is to enterprise success. We appreciate your time here today.

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