A poll of more than 1,400 executive leaders revealed a threefold increase in organizations piloting generative AI (genAI) and more than a doubling of those who have placed the tech into production.
The new Gartner Research survey revealed that 45% of organizations are running genAI pilots, and another 10% have put genAI solutions into production — a significant increase from an earlier poll conducted in March and April 2023, in which only 15% of respondents were piloting generative AI and 4% were in production.
“Organizations are not just talking about generative AI, they’re investing time, money and resources to move it forward and drive business outcomes,” said Frances Karamouzis, a distinguished vice president analyst at Gartner.
The poll showed that 55% of organizations have increased investment in generative AI since it surged into the public domain ten months ago with the launch of ChatGPT to the public.
“Generative AI is now on CEOs’ and boards’ agendas as they seek to take advantage of the transformative potential of this technology,” Karamouzis said.
Forty-five percent of those surveyed said they are scaling genAI investments across multiple business functions, and nearly half of those (22%) are deploying the tech across multiple functions. Software development, marketing, and customer service (chatbots) are the areas seeing the highest rate of genAI adoption or investment.
Additionally, 78% of respondents believe that the benefits of generative AI outweigh its risks, up from 68% in the earlier poll.
Generative AI’s role in software development
Gartner predicts that more than half of software engineering leader roles will require that they oversee genAI development by 2025.
That prediction dovetails with findings from the 2023 Accelerate State of DevOps Report just released by Google Cloud’s DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) team. DORA polled nearly 3,000 technology professionals in a variety of industries worldwide, a majority of whom are incorporating at least some AI into the tasks included in the survey.
Between 20% and 40% of respondents said that AI is “extremely important” in contributing to a wide variety of tasks today, including analyzing data, analyzing security, writing code clocks or data functions, analyzing and monitoring logs, and identifying bugs.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm about the potential of AI development tools. In fact, a majority of respondents are incorporating at least some AI into the tasks we included in our survey,” Derek DeBellis, DORA research lead, wrote in the report.
“And while [AI] is the center of so many contemporary technical conversations, the impact of AI development tools on teams is still in its infancy,” he said. “We anticipate that it will take some time for AI-powered tools to come into widespread and coordinated use in the industry.”
The Google Cloud survey was sponsored by Digital.ai, a vendor of enterprise-grade software development and delivery products.
“Some analysts and technologists hypothesize that AI will make software teams more performant without negatively affecting professional well-being. So far, our survey evidence doesn’t support this,” the report stated. “Our evidence suggests that AI slightly improves individual well-being measures (such as burnout and job satisfaction) but has a neutral or perhaps negative effect on group-level outcomes (such as team performance and software delivery performance).”
The Google Cloud report speculated that the marginal benefits from AI on software teams has to do with its early stage of adoption. It’s likely some large enterprises in the survey are testing AI-powered tools before making a decision about using them broadly — so the jury is still out on the efficacy of the tech.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm about the potential of AI development tools, as demonstrated by the majority of people incorporating at least some AI into the tasks we asked about,” the report stated. “But we anticipate that it will take some time for AI-powered tools to come into widespread and coordinated use in the industry.”
Haritha Khandabattu, a senior director analyst at Gartner, said in an August report that genAI will not replace developers in the near future, but the technology has the ability to automate certain aspects of software engineering.
“It cannot replicate the creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities that humans possess. Leaders should reinforce the value of their teams by demonstrating how generative AI is a force multiplier that can enhance efficiency,” she said.
Generative AI applications can, however, speed up recruitment and hiring tasks, such as performing a job analysis and transcribing interview summaries. For example, software engineering leaders can enter a prompt requesting keywords or key phrases related to skills or experience for platform engineering, according to Khandabattu.
Software engineering leaders can also invest in generative AI to allocate more time to focus on the people-centric aspects of their role. Investing in generative AI technologies will allow managers to continuously upskill engineers and cultivate an adaptable workforce.
“In addition to recruitment, skill management and development lie at the core of leaders’ responsibilities,” Khandabattu said in the report. “AI-enabled skills management, a dynamic skills approach that helps in supporting talent and work processes, will help software engineering leaders rethink roles by identifying skills that can be combined to create new positions and eliminate redundances.”
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