It’s not just hype; genAI is already live at many companies

The production use of generative AI in businesses is well under way, increasing five-fold in 2023 as companies rushed to integrate the new technology into IT departments, line of business operations and almost everywhere else, according to a new report by business automation vendor Workato.

The report, released today, was based on data collected from 1,055 companies between 2021 and 2023. While it showed that spending on genAI tools still represents less than 1% of enterprise expenditures, “the data [also] show that the market buzz is grounded in reality.”

One of the more surprising aspects of the recent rise of genAI, according to the Workato study authors, is that many of the use cases are not coming from IT or the more technical parts of the workplace. Instead, researchers see a “democratization” of the technology, as line of business teams take advantage of it to automate their work or handle processes with particularly complex tool stacks.

Workato’s research predicts that, while most of these automation projects are still being overseen by IT departments, that number will shrink over time, reaching a tipping point within the next three or so years. After that point, a majority of AI automation projects could be handled by operational teams, instead.

This signifies a potentially major step forward for global businesses, according to Workato CIO Carter Busse.

“People are happier when they are empowered to do great things,” Busse said in the report. “One of the best people on my team was stocking grocery stores a few years ago, and now she is building automations in partnership with our VP of sales.”

That said, IT remains one of the key business units for genAI use, according to Workato. About a third of the business-focused use cases for the still-evolving technology are IT-related, including automated helpdesk and service ticketing functions, as well as conversation summaries.

The most automated process in 2024, thanks to generative AI, will be data operations, according to the report. This area was already the second-fastest growing area for AI-based automation in 2023 (behind only customer support and operations). The pressure companies face to cope with explosive growth in the amount of data they handle and store — and to extract value from it — are likely to push data operations automation rates much higher in the coming year.

Copyright © 2024 IDG Communications, Inc.


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