The Next Frontier: Leveraging ChatGPT and Generative AI in Business – Promises, Pitfalls, and Practical Considerations
Today’s business leaders find themselves navigating a world in which artificial intelligence (AI) plays an increasingly pivotal role. Among the various types of AI, generative AI – the kind that can produce novel content – has been a game changer. One such example of generative AI is OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Though it’s a powerful tool with significant business applications, it’s also essential to understand its limitations and potential pitfalls.
1. What are Generative AI and ChatGPT?
Generative AI, a subset of AI, is designed to create new content. It can generate human-like text, compose music, create artwork, and even design software. This is achieved by training on vast amounts of data, learning patterns, structures, and features, and then producing novel outputs based on what it has learned.
In the realm of generative AI, ChatGPT stands out as a leading model. Developed by OpenAI, GPT, or Generative Pre-training Transformer, uses machine learning to produce human-like text. By training on extensive amounts of data from the internet, ChatGPT can generate intelligent and coherent responses to text prompts.
Whether it’s crafting detailed emails, writing engaging articles, or offering customer service solutions, ChatGPT’s potential applications are vast. However, the technology is not without its drawbacks, which we’ll delve into shortly.
2. Strategic Considerations for Business Leaders
Adopting a generative AI model like ChatGPT in your business can offer numerous benefits, but the key lies in understanding how best to leverage these tools. Here are some areas to consider:
- 2.1. Efficiency and Cost Savings
Generative AI models like ChatGPT can automate many routine tasks. For example, they can provide first-level customer support, draft emails, or generate content for blogs and social media. Automating these tasks can lead to considerable time savings, freeing your team to focus on more strategic, creative tasks. This not only enhances productivity but could also lead to significant cost savings.
- 2.2. Scalability
One of the biggest advantages of generative AI models is their scalability. They can handle numerous tasks simultaneously, without tiring or requiring breaks. For businesses looking to scale, generative AI can provide a solution that doesn’t involve a proportional increase in costs or resources. Moreover, the ability of ChatGPT to learn and improve over time makes it a sustainable solution for long-term growth.
- 2.3. Customization and Personalization
In today’s customer-centric market, personalization is key. Generative AI can create content tailored to individual user preferences, enhancing personalization in your services or products. Whether it’s customizing email responses or offering personalized product recommendations, ChatGPT can drive customer engagement and satisfaction to new heights.
- 2.4. Innovation
Generative AI is not just about automating tasks; it can also stimulate innovation. It can help in brainstorming sessions by generating fresh ideas and concepts, assist in product development by creating new design ideas, and support marketing strategies by providing novel content ideas. Leveraging the innovative potential of generative AI could be a game-changer in your business strategy.
3. The Pitfalls of Generative AI
While the benefits of generative AI are clear, it’s essential to be aware of its potential drawbacks and pitfalls:
- 3.1. Data Dependence and Quality
Generative AI models learn from the data they’re trained on. This means the quality of their output is directly dependent on the quality of their training data. If the input data is biased, inaccurate, or unrepresentative, the output will likely be flawed as well. This necessitates rigorous data selection and cleaning processes to ensure high-quality outputs.
Employing strategies like AI auditing and fairness metrics can help detect and mitigate data bias and improve the quality of AI outputs.
- 3.2. Hallucination
Generative AI models can sometimes produce outputs that appear sensible but are completely invented or unrelated to the input – a phenomenon known as “hallucination”. There are numerous examples in the press regarding false statements or claims made by these models, sometimes funny (like claiming that someone ‘walked’ across the English Channel) to the somewhat frightening (claiming someone has committed a crime, when in fact, they did not). This can be particularly problematic in contexts where accuracy is paramount. For example, if a generative model hallucinates while generating a financial report, it could lead to serious misinterpretations and errors. It’s crucial to have safeguards and checks in place to mitigate such risks.
Implementing robust quality checks and validation procedures can help. For instance, combining the capabilities of generative AI with verification systems, or cross-checking the AI outputs with trusted data sources, can significantly reduce the risk of hallucination.
- 3.3. Ethical Considerations
The ability of generative AI models to create human-like text can lead to ethical dilemmas. For instance, they could be used to generate deepfake content or misinformation. Businesses must ensure that their use of AI is responsible, transparent, and aligned with ethical guidelines and societal norms.
Regular ethics training for your team, and keeping lines of communication open for ethical concerns or dilemmas, can help instill a culture of responsible AI usage.
- 3.4. Regulatory Compliance
As AI becomes increasingly pervasive, regulatory bodies worldwide are developing frameworks to govern its use. Businesses must stay updated on these regulations to ensure compliance. This is especially important in sectors like healthcare and finance, where data privacy is paramount. Not adhering to these regulations can lead to hefty penalties and reputational damage.
Keep up-to-date with the latest changes in AI-related laws, especially in areas like data privacy and protection. Consider consulting with legal experts specializing in AI and data to ensure your practices align with regulatory requirements.
- 3.5 AI Transparency and Explainability
Generative AI models, including ChatGPT, often function as a ‘black box’, with their internal workings being complex and difficult to interpret.
Enhancing AI transparency and explainability is key to gaining trust and mitigating risks. This could involve using techniques that make AI decisions more understandable to humans or adopting models that provide an explanation for their outputs.
4. Navigating the Generative AI Landscape: A Step-by-Step Approach
As generative AI continues to evolve and redefine business operations, it is essential for business leaders to strategically navigate this landscape. Here’s an in-depth look at how you can approach this:
- 4.1. Encourage Continuous Learning
The first step in leveraging the power of AI in your business is building a culture of continuous learning. Encourage your team to deepen their understanding of AI, its applications, and its implications. You can do this by organizing workshops, sharing learning resources, or even bringing in an AI expert (like myself) to educate your team on the best ways to leverage the potential of AI. The more knowledgeable your team is about AI, the better equipped they will be to harness its potential.
- 4.2. Identify Opportunities for AI Integration
Next, identify the areas in your business where generative AI can be most beneficial. Start by looking at routine, repetitive tasks that could be automated, freeing up your team’s time for more strategic work. Also, consider where personalization could enhance the customer experience – from marketing and sales to customer service. Finally, think about how generative AI can support innovation, whether in product development, strategy formulation, or creative brainstorming.
- 4.3. Develop Ethical and Responsible Use Guidelines
As you integrate AI into your operations, it’s essential to create guidelines for its ethical and responsible use. These should cover areas such as data privacy, accuracy of information, and prevention of misuse. Having a clear AI ethics policy not only helps prevent potential pitfalls but also builds trust with your customers and stakeholders.
- 4.4. Stay Abreast of AI Developments
In the fast-paced world of AI, new developments, trends, and breakthroughs are constantly emerging. Make it a point to stay updated on these advancements. Subscribe to AI newsletters, follow relevant publications, and participate in AI-focused forums or conferences. This will help you keep your business at the cutting edge of AI technology.
- 4.5. Consult Experts
AI implementation is a significant step and involves complexities that require expert knowledge. Don’t hesitate to seek expert advice at different stages of your AI journey, from understanding the technology to integrating it into your operations. An AI consultant or specialist can help you avoid common pitfalls, maximize the benefits of AI, and ensure that your AI strategy aligns with your overall business goals.
- 4.6. Prepare for Change Management
Introducing AI into your operations can lead to significant changes in workflows and job roles. This calls for effective change management. Prepare your team for these changes through clear communication, training, and support. Help them understand how AI will impact their work and how they can upskill to stay relevant in an AI-driven workplace.
In conclusion, navigating the generative AI landscape requires a strategic, well-thought-out approach. By fostering a culture of learning, identifying the right opportunities, setting ethical guidelines, staying updated, consulting experts, and managing change effectively, you can harness the power of AI to drive your business forward.
5. Conclusion: The Promise and Prudence of Generative AI
Generative AI like ChatGPT carries immense potential to revolutionize business operations, from streamlining mundane tasks to sparking creative innovation. However, as with all powerful tools, its use requires a measured approach. Understanding its limitations, such as data dependency, hallucination, and ethical and regulatory challenges, is as important as recognizing its capabilities.
As a business leader, balancing the promise of generative AI with a sense of prudence will be key to leveraging its benefits effectively. In this exciting era of AI-driven transformation, it’s crucial to navigate the landscape with a keen sense of understanding, responsibility, and strategic foresight.
If you have questions or want to identify ways to enhance your organization’s AI capabilities, I’m happy to chat. Feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com or connect with me on LinkedIn
In early 2022, my wife and I noticed a slight drip in the kitchen sink that progressively worsened. We quickly discovered that if we adjusted the lever just right, the drip would subside for a while. Right before the holidays, we had an issue with our water heater that wasn’t so livable, so we called an expert. After the plumber finished up with our hot water tank, we asked him to check our sink. In 5 minutes, he fixed the problem that had inconvenienced us for months! We had become so used to our workaround that we didn’t even realize how much time we spent in frustration trying to get the faucet handle just right (let alone double checking it all hours of the day and night) when we could have resolved the issue in just a few minutes of effort from an expert!
Sometimes, our workarounds are only efficient in our minds. They may save us time or a few dollars upfront, but do they save us anything in the long run? In my case, the answer was a resounding ‘no’.
In our professional lives, we’re trained to seek out our solutions for the ‘leaky faucets’ and typically only bring in an expert when we encounter a major problem that we can’t live with. For credit unions, the ‘water heater’ problems are typically the front office, as they live and die by the member experience. Having the right technology and interface (along with a myriad of other things) tends to be the core focus when it comes to investing in process and technology improvements.
Where are the ‘leaky faucets’ usually located? The back office. Temporary workarounds are created and then become standard practice; these workarounds are largely unknown to the broader organization, time-consuming, and surprisingly easy to correct. They add up and lead to frustrations and inefficiencies, just like my family experienced with our sink. I recently sat down with Mike Lawson of CU Broadcast and John Wyatt, CIO of Apple Federal Credit Union, to discuss the value of a back-office assessment.
You can check out a clip of that conversation here:
To see the entire segment, click here (just scroll down to the bottom of the page). I enjoyed speaking with Mike and John and encourage everyone in the credit union arena to subscribe to CU Broadcast if you haven’t already – it’s a great show, and one I’ve enjoyed for years.
So, when is the last time you checked your faucets? We’d love to hear from you – reach out to me if you have questions or want to learn more about maximizing your back-office efficiency.
Data science in simple terms takes large amounts of data and breaks it down to solve a problem or determine a specific pattern. Business analytics are used to evaluate data and related statistics to gain perspective on trends and interpretations for making organizational decisions.
While both data science and business analytics professionals draw insights from data using statistics and software tools, deciphering between the two can be complicated. This article does a good job describing the key differences between them and the important role each plays in the way data is analyzed.
How do you move forward as an organization to achieve your vision? What’s working well? What’s holding you back or bogging things down? As a mortgage consultant who’s worked in the industry for years, I hear these questions all the time from organizational leaders. And there is help! One tool that’s very effective in helping you answer these challenging questions is an Operational Assessment. Operational Assessments are a pulse check for your business. Every company can benefit from an operational assessment; it provides an open, honest, and objective viewpoint of your business’s current processes, procedures, technology, people, and risks. And once you have this information, you’ll be able to create a plan and chart a path for the future.
So how do you get started on an operational assessment? Where do you find the information? Again, the operational assessment is to provide a checkup of your organization. There is no better way to get to the truth than talking with your employees and clients.
Most Operational Assessments include the following components, so you’ll want to frame your questions and surveys around these business areas.
So, what’s the best approach to collecting data? Staff interviews and ride-a-longs are a great option, and it is through these conversations with employees that you’ll gather a lot of information to complete the assessment. Listen carefully. Because without question, you’ll gain tremendous insight into the formal and informal processes and cultural norms that drive the business. For example, does the current technology effectively support the business? Does it help employees complete their jobs, or is it a constant issue? Are leaders delivering a consistent message, uniting around common goals and direction? In short, are we all together in the boat rowing in the same direction? People are the core of the business, and it’s important to understand their feedback, comments, perspectives, and observations. Through open dialogue, you’ll uncover things that are not always seen, like workarounds, completing work in a strange order, missing key items that could make reporting better, outdated policies and procedures, etc.
For external customers, consider using interviews, or to reach a broader audience, surveys are also very effective. Do customers have a positive experience when engaging with your organization? Are they satisfied with the business relationships? You’ll want to incorporate feedback from closed and unclosed loan clients, as well as your realtor/builder partners.
An operational assessment is only as good as the honest and open feedback received, a clear view into the company’s current operations, AND leadership that is willing to listen, then adjust and apply any apt learnings.
This blog is a very brief overview of an operational assessment that could help you objectively determine the status of your organization. Once you can see things with complete transparency, it can help define intentional growth or organizational change steps. Once you know where you are, THAT VALUE can help you get where you want to be.
PowerApps is one of the most recent additions to the Microsoft Office suite of products. PowerApps has been marketed as “programming for non-programmers”, but make no mistake; the seamless interconnectivity PowerApps has with other software products allows it to be leveraged in highly complex enterprise applications. PowerApps basic is included in an Office 365 License, but for additional features and advanced data connections, a plan must be purchased. When I was brought on to CC Pace as an intern to assist with organizational change regarding SharePoint, I assumed that the old way of using SharePoint Designer and InfoPath would be the framework I would be working with. However, as I began to learn more about PowerApps and CC Pace’s specific organizational structure and needs, I realized that it was essential to work with a framework geared towards the future.
Solutions with PowerApps
While Big Data and data warehousing become common practices, data analytics and organized data representation become more and more valuable. On the small to medium organizational scale, bringing together scattered data which is stored in a wealth of different applied business practices and software options has been extremely difficult. This one of the areas where PowerApps can create immense value for your organization. Rather than forcing an extreme and expensive organizational change where everyone submits expense reports, recruitment forms, and software documentation to a brand new custom database management system, PowerApps can be used to pull data from its varying locations and organize it.
PowerApps is an excellent solution for data entry applications, and this is the primary domain I’ve been working in. A properly designed PowerApp allows the end user to easily manipulate entries from all sorts of different database management systems. Create, Read, Update, Delete (CRUD) applications have been around and necessary for a long time, and PowerApps makes it easy to create these types of applications. Input validation and automated checks can even help to prevent mistakes and improve productivity. If your organization is constantly filling out their purchase orders with incorrectly calculated sales tax, a non-existent department code, or forgetting to add any number of fields, PowerApps allows some of those mistakes to be caught extremely early.
Integration with Flow (the upgraded version of SharePoint designer WorkFlows), allows for even greater flexibility using PowerApps. An approval email can be created to ensure to prevent mistakes from being entered into a database management system, push notifications can be created when PowerApps actions are taken, the possibilities are (almost) endless.
Pros and Cons
There are both advantages and disadvantages to leveraging software in an enterprise solution that is still under active development. One of the disadvantages is that many of the features that a user might expect to be included aren’t possible yet. While Flow integration with PowerApps is quite powerful, it is missing several key features, such as an ability to attach a document directly from PowerApps, or to write data over multiple records at a time (i.e. add multiple rows to a SQL database). Additionally, I would not assume that PowerApps is an extremely simple, programming free solution to business apps. Knowledge of the different data types as well as the use of functions gives PowerApps a steep learning curve. While you may not be writing any plaintext code, other than HTML, PowerApps still requires a good amount of knowledge of technology and programming concepts.
The main advantage to PowerApps being new software is just that; it’s brand new software. You may have heard that PowerApps is currently on track to replace, at least partially, the now shelved InfoPath project. InfoPath may continue to work until 2026, but without any new updates to the program, it may become obsolete on newer environments well before that. Here at CC Pace, we focus on innovation and investing in the solutions of tomorrow, and using PowerApps internally rather than creating a soon non-supported InfoPath framework was the right choice.
As a programmer and cybersecurity enthusiast, creating pieces of enterprise systems is something I never knew I would be so interested in. I’m Niels Verhoeven, a summer IT Intern at CC Pace Systems. I study Information Systems with a focus on Cybersecurity Informatics at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. My experiences at CC Pace and my programming background have given me quite a bit of insight into how users, systems, and business can fit together, improving productivity and quality of work.