What Would Drive the C-Suite to Large AI Investments?

Give an executive a good reason to use AI and look at what happens.

Artificial intelligence is blessed with profit potential, productivity gains, and less apparently, a powerful public relations machine.

It’s the latter element that vexes some senior executives, as a vibe settles in among the AL business class the technology sells itself.

That attitude is prevalent among many of the 15,000 U.S.-based AI companies currently operating in late 2023. Much like the internet hysteria in the late 1990s, AI companies open up with a mindset that, in the case of artificial intelligence, supply is all a company needs, as the demand is always there.

Not always, it seems.

According to Deloitte’s firm’s Q3 CFO Signals report, 22% of company financial executives surveyed believe it AI investment right now is “’not important’ while another 20% say it is ‘not very important’ to them. Only 24% of corporate decision makers believe AI is ‘important’ or ‘very important right now, Deloitte notes.

There is a caveat, and it’s a big one.

When Deloitte asked chief executives “What would make you buy” an artificial intelligence business productivity package, business decision-makers were forthcoming.

“To get CFOs on board with generative AI, they want to see use cases and evaluate costs, benefits, and returns before signing on,” Deloitte states. “They also want a better understanding of its risks and limitations and information about its potential. Less important are the issues of data quality and controls, whether their companies are ready for it, regulations, quality and accuracy of outputs, among others.”

CFO AI Priorities Listed

In order, the most frequently cited comments by CFOs (and the percentage of CFOs who made those comments) include the following:

Use cases of GenAI – 39%.

• Evaluation of the cost and benefits – 28%.

• Understanding of risks and returns – 16%.

• Knowledge and information – 16%

• Data quality and readiness – 7%

• Organizational readiness – 7%

• Clear guidelines and regulations – 6%

• Accuracy and quality – 3%

• Other – 3%

That’s not all.

When asked “What’s stopping you from adopting generative AI?”, CFOs said “lack of talent” was their biggest concern, cited by 63% of respondents. “Data and tech resources are the second most popular answer (49%) and risk and governance concerns (45%) round out the top three,” Deloitte noted.

The takeaway from the Deloitte CFO report? It’s crystal clear – AI product and service providers can’t assume it’s okay to open the door, hang the shingle, and wait for customers to storm in waving checkbooks.

Instead, industry providers need to ask good questions, probe where a customer needs help, and steer them to the right AI solutions.

Do that, and the artificial intelligence experience is a win-win for everyone.

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