Generative AI Drives Productivity: Small Businesses Should Take Notice

According to a recent IBM study, productivity has taken center stage for CEOs worldwide as technology modernization becomes critical to achieving their productivity goals. This shift in priorities for small businesses from major global corporations signifies the escalating importance of embracing advanced technologies, like generative Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The IBM Institute for Business Value’s annual CEO study, titled “CEO decision-making in the age of AI, Act with intention,” indicates that almost half of the CEOs surveyed cite productivity as their highest business priority, up from sixth place in 2022. Technology modernization follows as their second highest priority. These key findings could serve as crucial insights for small businesses looking to stay competitive in an increasingly technology-driven market.

However, generative AI adoption is not without challenges. CEOs are weighing potential risks such as bias, ethics, and security. More than half (57%) of CEOs surveyed expressed concerns about data security and 48% worry about bias or data accuracy. For small business owners, these concerns underscore the importance of implementing robust data protection measures and ensuring unbiased data handling when integrating AI into their operations.

“Generative AI can reduce the barriers to AI adoption and half of the CEOs interviewed are actively exploring it to drive a new wave of productivity, efficiency, and quality of service across industries,” said Jesus Mantas, Global Managing Partner, IBM Consulting. Small business owners could also harness the potential of generative AI to increase their efficiency and productivity, enhancing the quality of their products and services.

A notable gap was identified between CEOs and their executive teams regarding AI readiness. While 50% of CEOs report they are already integrating generative AI into products and services, only 29% of their executive teams believe they possess the in-house expertise to adopt generative AI. For small businesses, this underlines the necessity of building or acquiring the right technical expertise to fully leverage AI’s benefits.

The study also pointed out that generative AI is leading to changes in the workforce, with 43% of CEOs reporting that they have reduced or redeployed their workforce due to generative AI, and 46% have hired additional workers because of it. However, less than one in three CEOs (28%) have assessed the potential impact of generative AI on their workforce, and 36% plan to do so in the next 12 months. Small businesses must take note and plan for these workforce changes as they incorporate AI technologies.

The global trend toward adopting generative AI is evident. Small businesses can learn from these large corporations and start evaluating how to integrate AI into their strategies. They need to weigh the risks against the rewards, consider workforce changes, and seek or develop the necessary expertise to implement AI responsibly. By doing so, they can potentially gain a competitive edge, increase productivity, and stay relevant in this rapidly evolving business landscape.

Image: IBM

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.