DWG Vantage Point: AI readiness – A strategic imperative

July 10, 2024 by

Welcome to the second instalment of our DWG Vantage Point series, in which I provide a perspective on my observations as DWG’s Chief Growth Officer.  

In the last Vantage Point post, I covered the importance of governance and the key role it plays in establishing high-performing digital workplaces. When done correctly, governance can help organizations to manage the impact of emerging trends and to plan accordingly.  

A plan will certainly be required when we start looking at the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in large-scale enterprises and how this could relate to digital workplaces.  

Indeed, I had the pleasure of hearing Stephen Fry, an actor, broadcaster, comedian, director, narrator and writer (he’s multi-talented!) talk about the rise of AI. He asked us to imagine being on a beach and enjoying time with friends and family, perhaps building a sandcastle, eating an ice cream, reading a book, all totally relaxed – except nobody has noticed a huge tidal wave approaching. That tidal wave, as Mr Fry went on to explain, is of course AI.  

I therefore wanted to share with you a few AI observations and anecdotes.  

There are some DWG members who were early adopters and keen to leverage this new technology as early as the start of 2023; but a spate of well-publicized data leaks that exposed sensitive data to ChatGPT resulted in those efforts being largely curtailed by their legal, risk and compliance colleagues.  

Many organizations opted to ban the use of AI tools altogether, viewing this as too big a risk to their Intellectual Property. Others allowed the use of ChatGPT but sought to create policy guiderails and training, highlighting that content used must not be confidential or sensitive.  

The launch of Microsoft Copilot in February 2023 was a key moment, as it enabled many organizations to kickstart testing Copilot and to allow small groups of users access; the vast majority of DWG members are M365 customers.  

Fast forward to the present day and we are starting to see the results of those efforts to test Copilot. One example, a DWG member, asked around 400 end users from across the business to self-certify that they were skilled users of the M365 ecosystem and knew their way around the world of Microsoft. The objective was to help identify possible use cases where Copilot could be applied to improve the way they worked and make them more productive.  

The self-nominated users were granted access to Copilot. After some analysis the general conclusion was that most of the users in the test actually had a low level of competency when it came to using M365, and did not in fact have the requisite skills to effectively leverage Copilot and support the objectives. Admittedly, this was a self-certified group who claimed they were skilled in M365, but it does highlight an area of concern. Does your workforce, especially those in roles who could be leveraging AI, have the necessary digital literacy to do so?   

This theme was further backed up following a discussion with the founder of a digital workplace analytic tool whose data showed that many users in Copilot trials were “one and done” – in other words, they would have a play once and then give up.  

From my perspective these findings demonstrate the need to have a plan when introducing AI into your organization, and one that needs to embrace change management so that people in your organization can be equipped to leverage AI to a high level.  

At DWG we recognize this challenge. Given our track record in benchmarking, I am pleased to say that we will be launching a suite of services to support organizations on their journey to leverage AI.  

In the coming weeks you will be able to commission DWG to conduct an AI Readiness Assessment, which will evaluate your organization’s current capabilities, resources and culture to determine its preparedness for successfully adopting AI. The key areas that will be focused upon include: 

  • Leadership Analysis: how ready is the leadership for transforming your business into an AI-driven business? Executive leadership is the key determinant of success in AI initiatives, with visionary leadership the cornerstone of AI success. The executive leaders of the organization must be ready to lead the transformation 
  • Organization Analysis: how prepared is the business and its people for the adoption of AI technologies? Culture and behaviour are at the core of successful AI adoption; your people must be ready and willing to adopt new ways of working that bring the AI technologies to life and enable them to deliver the value they offer. 
  • Support Functions Analysis: are the business functions of the organization that will be required to support the transformation into an AI-driven business ready for the challenge? Critical areas of the business, such as HR, IT, Legal and Communications, have an active role to play in the adoption of AI-enabled new ways of working. Are they ready? 
  • Business Unit Analysis: which business units are most likely to benefit from AI technologies? What value will AI enable for these business units, and what new ways of working will be required for the business value to be attained? Focusing the adoption of AI on these business units, and specific roles within them, is critical for success. 
  • Technology Audit: what is the current state of the organization’s technology infrastructure, including hardware, software and data management systems; is this infrastructure ready to support AI technology? How ready is the IT function for the implementation of the data and information security and accessibility required for secure and appropriate use of AI technologies? These are critical elements of AI adoption that must be in place before the use of AI technologies can commence. 

The outputs from DWG’s AI Readiness Assessment are designed to enable your organization to take an informed approach to AI adoption by understanding the current strengths, weaknesses and opportunities that exist.    

If your organization would benefit from DWG’s AI Readiness Assessment and would like to find out more, please contact me at edward.taylor@digitalworkplacegroup.com and I can share further details about this service.  

Categorised in: Artificial intelligence and automation, Leadership

Ed Taylor

Edward has been working in the digital industry for more than 10 years and brings experience of working with many clients around the world. As Chief Growth Officer at DWG, Edward is part of the leadership team and is focused on helping to grow the business and develop our existing services. He works closely with the DWG member community to support them in meeting their objectives through our consulting practice. More recently he has taken the lead on the DWG Institute, our latest offering, that brings together technology providers and digital workplace practitioners. The DWG Institute will enable learning and encourage sharing about technologies and trends in the digital workplace.  

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