AI Readiness: what your business needs to do now for 2024

The desire to unlock gen AI's potential is clear, driven by the promise of opportunity. Still, formidable barriers pose challenges and are demanding strategic solutions.

Digital, Artificial Intelligence, Creative, Ruth Callaghan, Technology

Ruth Callaghan 31 Oct 2023
3 mins

When we speak to many businesses, government agencies and organisational leaders about generative AI, the conversation often goes like this.

Have you tried ChatGPT?

Yes, but it didn’t really work in the way we expected.

Are people using it in your business?

Probably — but no one knows who, where, how or on what.

Is there an appetite to adopt gen AI?

Absolutely. It’s just that no one is quite sure where to begin.

A year after the launch of ChatGPT — yes, it really has been a year — we are beginning to see two worlds emerge.

There are some businesses and institutions who have waded in and are embedding gen AI in their operations.

They are using it to speed up internal processes like searching for content, using it to answer customer and internal queries, and are beginning to broaden the range of tasks that can be comfortably handled by AI rather than a human.

Some of these early adopters are big and well-funded, but there are also small, nimble and forward-looking businesses who see this as a chance to leap ahead of their competition.

On the other side, though, sit most Australian businesses.

The desire to access the opportunities offered by gen AI is there, but the barriers seem insurmountable, whether that is having the right in-house champions, a leadership team that can speak comfortably about the use cases of gen AI, or an IT team comfortable in letting staff experiment.

Executives rightly have questions about how gen AI can be used safely and responsibly. People & Culture leads worry about the change management required for adoption.

CFOs want to understand the business case, the investment required and the return that can be reasonably expected.

All the while, there’s a recognition that employees and teams are using gen AI tools under the radar, without a plan or set of protocols in place, in the absence of any training or guidance.

Bridging this divide is the key technology challenge we see for organisations as we head into 2024, which will see the vision of AI Everywhere come to fruition.

ChatGPT and its vastly superior paid version GPT-4 might still be the most used tools for writing, summarising, planning and developing humanistic Q&A, but the wave of AI in ordinary business tools cannot be held back.

Copilot will completely reshape the way teams use Microsoft products.

Canva’s Magic Studio is worth every penny for the efficiencies it will offer design teams and marketers.

Embedded AI will feature in your ERP system, your CRM, your accounting software and your HR tools — often without you making any change in your licence.

Once this happens, there’s no opportunity to defer the AI discussion. You will need your business or organisation to be AI ready.

What does AI readiness look like? At Cannings Purple we break it down into four key areas.

There’s the practical dimension: leaders, teams and individuals need to understand what generative AI is, its potential applications, and how it is both similar and different to other technology. A lot of the value created with gen AI is identified at the user level — finding a way to cut a two-hour task to 10 minutes, for example — but leaders equally need to understand the potential of gen AI to ensure use cases are appropriate and don’t undermine business value.

There’s the conceptual dimension: We call it building your AI-Q. One reason people have tried and abandoned ChatGPT or other tools as ‘not quite right’ is that instruction for gen AI is drastically different to traditional software. Having a good mental model for the AI leads to better outcomes. That alone is a complex shift in thinking and behaviour.

There’s the governance dimension: Responsible AI is a field in itself, but having clear protocols and an evolving set of guidelines that enable safe, legal and ethical use of the technology will be critical in managing risk. Organisations need to be able to trust employees are not compromising confidential data or breaching privacy, or introducing bias or errors into work processes and decision making.

Finally, there is the technical dimension: While ChatGPT remains free, you will likely need to invest in a better-quality platform to capture value. At the same time, there’s a risk of overinvestment while this sector continues to evolve at pace. We like to work with organisations on low-investment, low-risk pilot programs that help to build internal AI skills and test proof of concept — before they embark on long-term investment or builds.

So, if you feel it is time to get started, or you need to reinvigorate your organisation’s journey to AI, we can help.

Over coming months, we are running a series of targeted, tailored webinars as part of our AI Readiness series. They are interactive small group sessions, with live demonstrations of the use cases that matter to each audience, so you can raise questions, discuss concerns or seek additional advice.

You will come away with a clearer understanding of where you can take the next steps, and how to ensure those steps are safe ones.

Ready or not, AI is the reality of business life going forward. We want to help you ensure the journey is a positive one.


Ruth Callaghan More from author

Ruth uses two decades of experience as a media strategist, communications adviser and journalist to develop, deliver and distribute messages that cut through.

She specialises in providing strategic digital and content services for clients, using the principles of newsworthy and engaging content to tell compelling stories. She is a skilled media trainer and works with professionals both within and outside the communications industry to develop their digital, writing and media skills.

Ruth’s work in this field has included developing digital and inbound marketing strategies for clients, including use of lead generation software, content marketing and social media. She works with emerging technologies including virtual reality in campaigns and continues to write for publications including the Australian Financial Review.

When not distracted by the next shiny digital tool, Ruth likes to holiday in cooler climates with her family or hang out with her stubborn Scottish Terrier Maisie.

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