Survey: Generative AI adoption often driven by 'singular leader'

A wide variety of enterprise organizations have started to embrace generative AI, and for a wide variety of reasons, but one thing all of them have in common is that in many cases their adoption of the technology can be traced back to the efforts of a single generative AI champion within their organizations.

That finding comes from an online survey of 300 professionals, including data analysts, senior business decision makers, IT decision makers, and line of business leaders, that was conducted by software analytics company Alteryx, which uses generative AI capabilities in its own products.

Among survey participants 40% said their organizations already are using generative AI, and 98% of that group reported having a "singular leader" responsible for driving generative AI strategy in their organization. That leader was sometimes, but not always, the organization’s CEO.

While 30% of respondents said investment in generative AI was driven by the CEO, 25% indicated that “singular leader” was the person in charge of IT, and 22% said it was the Chief Data/Analytics Officer of the organization. Not having such a generative AI champion within an organization matters, as 34% of companies not using generative AI stated that one of the main reasons why is because there is “no one to take the lead with implementation.” 

Meanwhile, within companies using generative AI, the corporate departments most often using the technology also can vary. About 54% of those surveyed said the technology primarily was being used by their IT departments, while 38% said it was used by their data science groups, and 36% said it was used by their customer service organizations.  

Among other findings, most survey respondents whose companies use generative AI remain at a fairly early stage with their engagement with the technology. About 53% of those surveyed ranked their maturity as “exploring” or “experimenting” with generative AI, and 18% rate their maturity as “optimizing” or “innovating.” Still, 89% of companies currently using generative AI reported seeing either substantial (34%) or modest (55%) benefits of the technology, with 52% saying they already are seeing increased market competitiveness among those benefits.

Additionally, improved security (49% of respondents) also was cited as a benefit, a curious finding considering that other reports (such as this one from Gartner) and surveys (like this one from Insight Enterprises) often have listed security risks among the concerns companies have about adopting generative AI. Another 45% of survey participants said they are seeing the benefit of enhanced performance or functionality of their products. 

As with other studies of the fast-emerging technology, the Alteryx survey did uncover concerns that organizations still have about adopting generative AI. Security was not specifically listed among those concerns, but the potentially related issues over data ownership (29% of respondents), data privacy (28%), and IP ownership (28%) were among the top concerns listed.