Yes, generative AI is everything they say it is, and most likely more resourceful than we currently realize. And while business leaders are tripping over each other in a mad rush to get the wunderkind tech deployed, new research from AI communication assistance firm Grammarly reveals that more than half of companies still don’t have a clear strategy to deploy generative AI within their organizations at scale—and this haphazard approach is opening them up to security risks and putting them at a competitive disadvantage.
The study, Maximizing Business Potential with Generative AI: The Path to Transformation, based on research conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Grammarly Business, shows that businesses are rushing to deploy generative AI to drive transformation, turning to the technology to address challenges like improving writing quality (47 percent), increasing revenue (46 percent), and speeding up execution (42 percent)—and 43 percent are moving more quickly than in the past with other innovations.
Still, only 45 percent have an enterprise-wide strategy to ensure secure, aligned deployment across the entire organization. That leaves them vulnerable to security threats and technical consolidation challenges from disjointed and ungoverned use of generative AI—putting their business, customers, and employees at risk and jeopardizing their ability to realize the technology’s benefits down the line.
“If you’re a business leader, adopting generative AI is not optional—your teams and competitors already are,” said Matt Rosenberg, Grammarly’s chief revenue officer and head of Grammarly Business, in a news release. “Those who fail to recognize or underestimate the value of the technology will fall behind, but businesses need to know how to operationalize it at scale. Carefully executing a company-wide strategy with holistic solutions is essential to achieve transformation through generative AI—and avoid long-term risks.”
The survey of technology decision-makers in North America and the UK underscores that businesses deploying the technology early and with a wall-to-wall strategy will gain a competitive edge. Highlights include:
- Generative AI is delivering results: It’s already helping increase revenue (74 percent), improve customer satisfaction (77 percent), enhance the employee experience (79 percent), reduce operational costs (75 percent), and more.
- Employees could save a third of their workweek with generative AI: Average daily time savings from using the technology is 33 percent—that’s 2.5 hours every workday or 13 hours each workweek.
- Employees are using it with or without their companies: 80 percent of respondents who are already using generative AI for all of their writing and editing at work say their company hasn’t yet adopted it.
- Companies need a holistic approach to avoid falling behind: The top concern with not using generative AI is falling behind competitors (35 percent), and respondents say their companies need a solution that can be used across their organization (90 percent).
Holdouts, beware—generative AI is inevitable and already delivering business impact
The findings reinforce that generative AI will change how work gets done: 62 percent of respondents expect it to transform workflows across their entire company within a year. And it’s not just saving time and increasing revenue—those who’ve adopted the technology say it’s already having a transformational or large impact on their ability to increase customer satisfaction (77 percent), enhance the employee experience (79 percent), reduce operational costs (75 percent), and improve privacy compliance (77 percent) and data security (73 percent).
Rampant ungoverned use of generative AI creates long-term challenges if companies don’t catch up
While companies are moving fast on deployment, employees are moving faster: 39 percent of respondents are already using generative AI for all of their writing and editing at work, but 80 percent of those say their company hasn’t yet adopted generative AI. Most sales, marketing, HR, and customer support leaders consider generative AI a “critical” priority, and 72 percent report different departments are leveraging it on their own without an organization-wide strategy.
Data security is critical—but companies don’t know how to approach it
The study suggests a pressing need to build better privacy and security practices and literacy around generative AI. Respondents cited enterprise data security as both the most critical criterion in their investments and the top technical challenge to adoption. Yet, 64 percent of respondents’ companies don’t know how to evaluate the security of potential generative AI partners.
Companies must act now with a coordinated, scalable strategy to realize generative AI’s transformative value
Especially with how quickly employees are moving, companies cannot afford to wait on adopting a comprehensive approach to generative AI if they want to avoid falling behind. Respondents say their companies need a solution that can be used across their organization (90 percent) and that understands the context of many different scenarios (89 percent). Companies with holistic strategies are 1.4 times more likely to be accelerating generative AI adoption than those using it at the departmental level. They’re also 1.5 times more likely to say they’re deploying faster than competitors.
Forrester conducted an online survey of 301 respondents across multiple industries, excluding government, education, and nonprofits. Survey participants included director+ technology purchasing decision-makers at organizations in North America and the UK in customer support, IT, HR, marketing, or sales roles. Respondents were offered a small incentive as a thank-you for the time spent on the survey. The study began in March 2023 and was completed in July 2023.