Since it hit the mainstream less than one year ago, Generative AI (gen AI) has exploded across the enterprise. A recent Forrester study commissioned by Grammarly found that gen AI is being adopted at remarkably high rates. While companies feel pressure to adopt gen AI to avoid falling behind, a short-sighted rush to implement creates risks.
During a recent Grammarly Business webinar, guest speaker and Forrester analyst Rowan Curran joined Grammarly product marketing manager Kelly MacDougal to discuss the explosion of gen AI in the workplace and the strategies organizations can deploy to make the best use of the technology while minimizing risk.
Gen AI’s unique moment
Unlike other enterprise technology trends of recent years, there is intense interest in gen AI from both a top-down and a bottom-up perspective. This is because the technology did not start as an enterprise tool but instead made its way into the workplace through employees who found the technology immensely valuable. When ChatGPT was released, people were intrigued and astounded by its ability to produce rich and informative content from just a short prompt. “People got a chance to get their hands dirty with it and start playing with it . . . and they said this can make a real difference in how I do my job and in how I interact with the people around me,” Curran said.
Meanwhile, executive excitement around text-based gen AI boils down to its ability to improve the quality of communication—a challenge more and more organizations are experiencing in the hybrid workplace with asynchronous workflows that demand a higher volume of written communication to move tasks along. A study commissioned by Grammarly earlier this year with The Harris Poll found that the amount of time spent on written communication has increased 18% year over year, but the effectiveness of that communication has declined by 12%. Gen AI helps people enhance the quality of their communication so that they can produce a higher volume without sacrificing the effectiveness of their communication. “It’s not just about how can we do this faster. . . . It’s about how can we do this better or do more interesting things on top of it,” Curran said, adding that gen AI will lead businesses into a “golden age of quality communication.”
Staying ahead of the gen AI curve
The aforementioned Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Grammarly found that 97% of organizations will have implemented gen AI by 2025. “We are no longer in a race to adopt generative AI; we are very much in a race to optimization,” Curran said. “You really need to be asking yourself how can we implement this most effectively at our company to get the most value.”
While gen AI has the opportunity to lead businesses into a “golden age of quality communication,” gen AI applications don’t necessarily come out of the box with enterprise-grade tools and controls.
When choosing a third-party provider, Curran said that organizations should move away from generic models and select applications that understand you and your business and that meet your needs securely. “You need the vendor to adapt to your company and brand identity and differentiate with your data,” Curran said. Otherwise, businesses will be left with generic, high-level content that will not meet the elevated thresholds for quality content brought about by the explosion of gen AI usage.
User experience is key to accelerating ahead and reducing risk
“When we’re looking at how to adopt gen AI in the enterprise, we need to think about the experience we’re creating for users,” Curran said. While user experience has always been paramount for the successful implementation of applications, Curran explained that it’s especially important in the case of gen AI. This is because users have already adopted the technology and have expectations for its capabilities.
Engaging with employees to understand their use cases and needs is critical for bringing in gen AI solutions that match employee expectations. This will also help reduce the potential for “shadow IT,” where employees leverage technology that has not been approved by the IT department. The study showed that 40% of respondents already use gen AI for all of their writing and editing tasks, yet 80% of those respondents also reported that their company has not yet adopted a gen AI solution. Shadow IT can open the company up to significant risks if employees are using tools that do not meet enterprise-grade security and privacy standards.
“At Grammarly, we understand the importance of the user experience and giving people access to technology in an easy-to-use and intuitive way,” MacDougal said. “Especially as we were building our generative AI solution, making sure that it’s available right there in-line, in over 500,000 applications and websites.”
Starting small is OK, but a broader enterprise strategy is critical
The study showed that employees and teams are adopting gen AI at a remarkably high rate; however, the majority (72%) of departments are doing so without the backing of an enterprise strategy. Curran explained that this can create challenges down the line when IT teams attempt to consolidate the “spaghetti” of deployments of different applications and systems across the organization.
Instead of implementing one-off gen AI applications designed for a specific team or department, leaders should be asking, “How can this feed into a broader strategy of data and analytics across the entire enterprise?” Curran said. Building an enterprise strategy begins with bringing stakeholders together to understand use cases and opportunities as well as potential pitfalls. Curran offered five starting steps for building an enterprise strategy.
- Engage with employees to build a safe and flexible set of guidelines around gen AI tools, in order to deliberately work against shadow IT.
- Start by exploring initial use cases for gen AI internally with vendor-supported functionality.
- Center initial deployments around internal employee use to enhance employee productivity and help with customer engagement (rather than deploying a tool like a gen AI chatbot for customers).
- Begin preparing enterprise data for use by gen AI applications.
- Work from the top down and the bottom up to link employee enthusiasm, executive interest, and energy from the IT organization.
Build a holistic gen AI strategy with Grammarly Business
Grammarly has been in the AI space for over 14 years, with a long-standing focus on and commitment to security and responsible AI. Grammarly Business works across platforms and ecosystems to provide AI writing assistance across every workflow. “With gen AI having such a moment, we’re uniquely positioned to deliver high-quality, contextually relevant content as the most secure generative AI available for enterprises across platforms and the applications they use,” MacDougal said.
To learn more about how Grammarly Business is supercharged with generative AI capabilities, click here to connect with a Grammarly specialist.