A CEO's guide to envisioning the Generative AI enterprise

The success of a company’s Generative AI adoption often rests on how well the CEO sets the tone and casts the vision for the enterprise.

Over the past year, awareness of Generative AI’s seemingly boundless possibilities has continued to expand. This exponential growth has instilled a growing belief among CEOs and other business leaders that it has the potential to significantly augment, if not substitute, even the most intricate and unstructured avenues of value creation.

But the reality of the past year is stark. There has been a lot of activity and interest, and plenty of proofs of concept and demos, and yet, a disjointed approach has prevented most companies from fully harnessing the potential of Generative AI. Moreover, the hard investment tradeoffs that CEOs have had to face have limited their ability to develop critical capabilities, including foundational technology and workforce investments. The Generative AI shift requires business leaders—most acutely, CEOs—to alter how they lead the enterprise.

An opportunity to reimagine

Deloitte analysis1 has shown that successful digital transformation can result in up to US$1.25 trillion in additional market cap, and GenAI is proving to be a powerful accelerant. Not only has the Generative AI market2 been doubling every two years, but the productivity gains and capabilities enabled by AI over the next decade are expected to increase global GDP by almost US$7 trillion3.

CEOs can capture this value by setting the right vision, drawing their perspective from both a strategic understanding of the technology and its potential to drive value and marketplace advantage. GenAI is much more than the evolution of chatbots—it can be a compressed digital representation of the entire enterprise, capturing knowledge and communicating it through natural language (as opposed to a programming language). To truly maximize its value, CEOs can take the opportunity to envision how GenAI can be aligned to their overall business strategy, not merely in completing tasks but in reshaping the fundamental business framework of their organization.

We call this vision the autonomous enterprise: a future-state organization that capitalizes on the unique advantages of pairing people with AI to help them become far more effective and their work become more fulfilling as digital agents complement and support them.

Realizing a future-state autonomous enterprise

Value creation through automation used to be limited by the inability to process large amounts of unstructured data, restricting it to tasks with low creative difficulty and low context variability. With Generative AI, that’s no longer the case.

As we know from studying information technology’s progression over time, cognitive automation systems are only going to become more intelligent. GenAI capabilities will likely enable the use of digital bots or agents that operate throughout an enterprise in a supportive role. Such bots could be given goals instead of specific commands and could develop plans, execute tasks, and even assign other tasks to other digital agents.

Imagine a planning meeting in an autonomous enterprise. Digital agents are tasked with synthesizing the company’s sales from the previous fiscal year and creating a forecast based on current and expected market conditions. The CEO and the executive team interrogate the enterprise AI model about its forecasting methods and assumptions, which are communicated with clear rationales. In the autonomous enterprise of the future, the blueprints of the organization, its complex ways of working, and years of institutional knowledge are at our fingertips through sophisticated AI models.

The CEO’s role: Set the vision, tell the story, and invest well

Creating this level of value through GenAI requires CEOs to reimagine ways of working and the role of people’s contributions to the workplace. Articulating a compelling vision of people working with AI (the human + AI advantage) is helpful for CEOs looking to outpace the competition.

First and foremost, CEOs should be specific about how GenAI can increase employees’ skills, efficiency, and productivity, thanks to new interfaces that ease human interaction and allow for engagement through natural language.

Second, CEOs should recognize that an autonomous enterprise frees people to focus on problems that require a human touch. In fact, organizations competing in a marketplace where every company has access to the same GenAI tools will likely need to rely on enduring human capabilities, such as curiosity, empathy, and creativity, to create differentiation. Finding that differentiation calls for leaders to design unique ways for humans and AI to interact.

To better capture value and realize the full potential of the autonomous enterprise, CEOs have a vital role to play in three significant areas: setting the vision, communicating it, and making the right investments to accelerate the journey toward that future.

Set the vision

The most unique role a CEO plays is developing and articulating a clear vision, which brings the opportunity for a radically enhanced, augmented, and eventually automated business model that can bring value to employees, customers, and other interest holders. But a GenAI-fuelled enterprise looks different for each organization, as the application, speed, pace of change, and potential for advantage will vary by business.

Some leaders may be inclined to take a technology and apply it directly to their business model. GenAI could provide CEOs the opportunity to fully reshape and redefine their business model instead, thinking beyond discrete use cases, pilots, and projects to scale AI and realize its full value.

Communicate the vision

Deloitte research shows that AI starts out in a trust deficit. When customers know a brand is using AI, their trust in the brand declines by a factor of 12. For CEOs at AI-fuelled organizations, it’s imperative to build a narrative that inspires the confidence of employees and customers alike.

Powerful narratives rooted in trust start with envisioning a positive future where AI enables and complements the human experience and the values of the people it serves—from how they create, connect, and make decisions to how they consume, learn, and grow. Leaders must emphasize how their employees and customers can flourish with machines, rather than work against them.

Invest to accelerate transformation

The CEO's path to enterprise adoption should give teams confidence as well as resources and the freedom to experiment, with commitments to hard investments. The journey to a GenAI-fuelled enterprise means building a foundation in digital and AI capabilities, such as technology infrastructure, to gain the flexibility and computing power needed to properly empower AI; data management, for feeding the organization's digital blueprint into AI models; and change management through upskilling, cultural changes, and restructuring as needed to adapt to new ways of working. That’s not to mention tackling concerns around privacy, security, trust, and regulation.

It's not too late for CEOs to act—yet—on a bold vision to drive value and competitive advantage through a GenAI-fuelled organization. You can read the full report via our global site.

1 Deloitte, "Unleashing value from digital transformation: Paths and pitfalls", February 14, 2023, Digital transformation value (
2 Deloitte AI Institute, "The implications of Generative AI for businesses", 2023, Generative Artificial Intelligence | Deloitte US
3 Goldman Sachs, “Generative AI could raise global GDP by 7%,” April 5, 2023.

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