Getting ready for the GenAI journey 

The potential for generative artificial intelligence to revolutionise the world economy is immense. Currently three out of every four financial executives in CE think that generative AI is important for their strategy.


For this edition of the CE CFO Survey, we asked almost 500 respondents about their views on generative AI, what they are doing now, and what they think the benefits and challenges will be. Generative AI, in the view of CE’s CFOs, is a way in which they might achieve cost reductions – and they see this as one of the chief benefits of the new technology. This publication will help readers to take a more strategic approach to the adoption of GenAI, suggesting where they can derive the greatest value from AI implementations and so accelerating the business transformation of CE-based enterprises.

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  • While our respondents perceive and understand the importance of generative AI for the future of business, its significant importance for business strategy is recognised by less than 30% of the CFOs we surveyed. Poland and Romania, on average, perceive the greatest relevance of GenAI for business strategy, while the Czech Republic and Slovakia scored the lowest. Technology, Media, Telecommunication as well as Consumer Business and Business & Professional Services are distinguished by their attribution of major importance to GenAI.
  • Most of companies have no clear vision about how to embark on the GenAI journey - only a small percentage of companies are passively waiting for competitors to make the first move (about 4%). 11% of companies are incorporating generative AI into their strategy, while a quarter are starting to experiment with. Poland and the CE South region continue to be the most unsure, while Slovakia and the Czech Republic are well ahead of average in incorporating GenAI into strategy.
  • Current generative AI efforts remain more focused on efficiency, productivity and cost reduction than on innovation and growth. According to CFOs’ responses, the benefit they expect most often is cost reduction (49% on average), with an expected gain in forecast accuracy coming in second for the CE region (43%) as a whole. Cost reduction is typically cited as the primary benefit for most industries, but especially for the most capital-intensive sectors such as Manufacturing and Energy, Utility, Mining (58% each) and construction (54%).
  • 56% of CFOs see skills-related challenges as the main barrier to the adoption and application of GenAI in their businesses. Second top barrier constitutes data resources and technology (51% in CE), which were most often cited by CFOs from Poland and Romania (58% and 53% respectively). The expense of investing in GenAI is the third of the most mentioned challenges, selected by nearly half of all CFOs.
  • Vigorous debate on GenAI is not yet correlated with the budget allocated for adoption. Most respondents undoubtedly anticipate that less than 1% of next year's overall budget will be for GenAI. The financial sector seems set to divert the highest percentage of their budget into GenAI next year.

The GenAI journey is only just beginning. Companies are exploring the potential of GenAI to unlock business value, enhance efficiency and productivity, and pave the way for entirely new products, services and business models. As executives grapple with integrating this new technology and decide on the future of their enterprises, it’s essential to stay attuned to the adoption trends at play. The full report can be downloaded here.

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