Unlocking Business Value

Ten Key Lessons Learned in Applying GenAI for Transformation

  • Insight
  • 8 Minute Read
  • January 23, 2024

With AI emerging as a strategic imperative for businesses pursuing growth and operational efficiency, Xavier Verhaeghe, Partner in Technology Consulting at PwC Belgium, delves into crucial lessons and insights acquired over the past year. From the strategic implementation of GenAI to fostering positive impact, he shares invaluable experiences that shed light on the evolving landscape.

Over the past year, we have experimented with GenAI, implementing real solutions to solve problems and improve efficiency. We’ve also weighed up its opportunities and risks, and seen EU negotiators seal a deal on the AI Act, introducing the notion of safe and responsible AI.  Seeing clients implement GenAI in their operations, I’m more convinced than ever that harnessing the power of artificial intelligence has become a strategic imperative for CEOs seeking growth, problem-solving capabilities and operational efficiency. GenAI, with its ability to generate human-like responses and make informed decisions, has emerged as a transformative force in achieving these objectives.

Yet applying GenAI to business transformation requires a deep understanding of its data, tools, technical and ethical dimensions, as well as its impact on business outcomes and user experiences. The focus shifts from mere amusement to doing the right things and doing them right. 

So, if we're aiming for optimal AI integration from the outset, how can we ensure efficient utilisation? 

Let's explore 10 key lessons learned when applying GenAI to unlock business value.

10 key lessons

Lesson 1 Define clear objectives for business impact

Maximising the business value of GenAI requires clear objectives aligned with strategic goals. Identify specific problems or challenges that GenAI can help solve, such as improving customer experience, optimising supply chain operations, accelerating time-to-market, enhancing R&D activities or refining decision-making processes.

Lesson 2 Invest in quality data for actionable insights

The effectiveness of GenAI heavily relies on the quality of data it processes and the prompting that is used. Invest in creating a vision for GenAI with a clear direction for the right solution strategy and for robust data collection, management, and governance practices to ensure accurate and relevant insights. High-quality data enables GenAI to provide actionable recommendations and drive informed decision-making.

Lesson 3 Prioritise ethical considerations for trust and reputation

As GenAI becomes more prevalent, ethical considerations are paramount. Prioritise transparency, fairness, and accountability in the development and deployment of GenAI systems. Upholding ethical standards builds trust with customers, employees, and stakeholders, safeguarding your organisation's reputation.

Lesson 4 Leverage existing AI solutions, build uniquely

To fully leverage GenAI's potential, collaborate with experts and solution providers. Avoid reinventing the wheel when standard solutions are available from industry leaders. Focus your brainpower on understanding the specific problems you want to solve. If existing solutions can suffice, then go for extracting business value from these solutions. However, when unique challenges, like confidentiality considerations or differentiating capabilities arise, you may opt for building specific solutions in-house.

Lesson 5 Understand limitations and set realistic expectations

While GenAI offers immense potential, it is essential to understand its limitations. GenAI solution capabilities are evolving rapidly, so transparently communicate limitations to stakeholders and set realistic expectations. By doing so you can avoid overpromising and ensure that GenAI is applied where it can truly deliver value now, while building for the future.

Lesson 6 Foster continuous learning and adaptation

GenAI is not a static solution; it requires continuous learning and adaptation. Foster a culture of experimentation and iteration to improve the performance and accuracy of GenAI models over time and to capitalise on its evolving capabilities. Embrace feedback loops and data-driven insights to refine and enhance GenAI's impact.

Lesson 7 Implement effective change management and embrace human-AI collaboration

Introducing GenAI into your organisation requires effective change management. Proactively address concerns, communicate the benefits, and provide training to ensure a smooth integration process. Involve employees and stakeholders to drive acceptance and adoption of GenAI solutions. GenAI should augment human capabilities, not necessarily replace them. Focus on human-led, tech-powered transformation that enhances employee and customer experiences and operational efficiency.

Lesson 8 Consider experience, efficiency and breakthrough transformation

The ease or complexity of implementing AI and GenAI solutions depends on the problem at hand. Next to the easier use cases around improving experience or increasing efficiency, do also consider potential breakthrough transformation when deciding on the scope and scale of your GenAI implementation.

Lesson 9 Monitor and evaluate performance for continuous improvement

Regularly monitor and evaluate the performance of your GenAI systems. Assess their impact on business outcomes, such as cost reduction, revenue growth or improved efficiency. Use these insights to refine and optimise GenAI models, ensuring ongoing value creation.

Lesson 10 Focus on business impact and innovation

GenAI is not the objective itself; it is a means to achieve business impact and drive innovation. Embrace agility and innovation to maintain a competitive edge. Continually unlock new opportunities for business transformation while avoiding the trap of pursuing GenAI for its own sake.

GenAI as an ally

At PwC we see GenAI as an ally for business transformation, allowing organisations to unlock significant value, solve complex problems, and improve operational efficiency. As with all innovation, implementation does require thorough testing and iteration, and success lies in defining clear objectives, investing in quality data and prioritising ethical considerations. Collaboration with experts, understanding limitations, and fostering continuous learning drive optimal results. Effective change management, human-AI collaboration and performance monitoring ensure seamless integration and ongoing improvement.

Our Technology Consulting team assists clients in navigating this dynamic landscape, helping them embrace the power of GenAI to drive business growth, enhance customer experiences, and achieve sustainable competitive advantage.

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Xavier Verhaeghe

Xavier Verhaeghe

Partner, Technology Consulting, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 495 59 08 40

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