Embracing Generative AI: A Paradigm Shift in IT Services and Content-Based Workflow

AI, and specifically generative AI, is going to transform IT delivery as well as a whole host of other corporate functions, and that’s assured.

ChatGPT and tools like it are going to transform the way entire organizations access, collate and distribute knowledge and create new assets – as well as what they do with all of it. How? Via secure company-wide intranets that draw on open, cloud-based AI platforms and intelligent bot-enabled business functions and regulatory processes, 

Very soon (if they aren’t already piloting projects), companies will first scrutinize and clean up content, then migrate it to a secure, cloud-based intranet harnessing the likes of Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI, making valuable knowledge and content assets securely searchable and collatable.

This will have a bearing on the way that new employees find answers to almost any query as part of everyday business workflow.

If teams need a summary of all the latest regulations with a bearing on a given task, or need to pull together the latest findings on a particular topic, they can simply ask the question and let the technology do the legwork — presenting the information back to them in a meaningful, context-appropriate way.

Over time, the returned answers will improve too — because users will have the facility to rate them with a quick thumbs up or thumbs down. As this happens, processes will become ever more efficient, transforming outcomes for teams and the internal and external stakeholders they serve.

Organizational transformation must start now

This is a glimpse into next-generation content and data management, and it really isn’t all that far away. But it comes with challenges for the C-suite, as the surrounding organizational transformation could take many years to see through fully.

Beyond information and content management and analytics, the next level of generative AI application will be in transforming core processes — from HR, sales, creative marketing and finance management to IT development and website creation.

As the technology matures, more controlled areas such as regulatory information management (in affected industries) can and will become a focus.

Of course, this won’t happen overnight. But it does require senior business leaders to take the long-term view — today. For now, the immediate preoccupations for companies — particularly regulated organizations including life sciences companies, industrial manufacturers, and finance institutions (which often face severe challenges in their digital transformation of content and content access) might have more to do with reducing dependency on legacy systems, consolidating content following a merger, or becoming more responsive to regulatory changes.

Whatever their ostensible and immediate focus, ultimately such initiatives are about being better at information, content, and knowledge management. And in the not-too-distant future, transformed data, content and knowledge management will involve generative AI as both the enabler and the intuitive user interface.

Next-level generative AI likely to focus on core processes

Even a year ago, no one could have predicted how rapidly generative AI would take hold and grow in its application. Accepting and fully embracing the implications is going to require significant culture change for companies, an organizational transformation that can take a good many years to see through — not to mention a considerable amount of blood, sweat and tears. Given that the typical tenure of a CEO is four to five years, organizations must now infuse the entire board with a vision and appetite for generative AI’s potential across their operations.

Beyond information and content management and analytics, the next level of generative AI application is likely to be in transforming core processes — from HR, sales, creative marketing, and finance management to IT development and website creation (think: “Please generate a website that does X”). Then, as the technology matures and trust builds, companies in affected markets can more boldly branch out into similar treatment of regulated areas and workflows.

The important point is that AI — and generative AI specifically — is not going anywhere. In fact, it will change the world. Its presence is already prominent, and its potential reach is all-pervasive.

The focus shouldn’t be about developing a separate AI strategy, or even updating the organization’s digital transformation strategy. It should be about weaving generative AI, and indeed any other aspect of digital transformation, into an organization’s core business strategy — and establishing where the technology could and should be harnessed to help deliver this.

Impact on user experience

When considering the ramifications of generative AI on the role of humans, it becomes evident that its impact will be substantial. Undoubtedly, human expertise will continue to play a pivotal role in the critical processes of verifying, providing feedback, refining, and enhancing AI-generated outcomes. However, over time, it is inevitable that the composition of various teams, such as those in IT/web development, HR, finance, and other domains, will undergo significant transformation. This transformation will occur as intelligent technology assumes a more substantial share of the workload, progressively reducing the need for large teams to handle routine tasks and groundwork.

It isn’t just the search and filter intelligence that’s transformative in all of this. It’s the user experience. The way that individuals engage and interact with an application or tool is at least as important as the clever things it can do, after all. And this has a bearing on everything from middleware or IT admin tools to a more advanced stack of content enrichment and workflow management capabilities.

It is imperative to maintain a forward-thinking approach, constantly anticipating what will be both achievable and anticipated within the next three to five years. This entails vigilant monitoring of technological developments and an unwavering commitment to innovation. These endeavors should be firmly rooted in an optimized core business strategy that not only encompasses these evolving priorities but also ensures that the necessary resources and groundwork are in place well in
advance.  

Dirk Bode

Dirk Bode is CEO of fme, an information technology consulting and services company specializing in digital transformation and associated data and content management in regulated markets.