I just returned from this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, and the energy around GenAI was nothing short of electrifying. The future is here! Amidst the excitement, I found a common thread in conversations with business leaders: a hunger for more information and insights, a desire to seek pragmatic solutions, and a general acceptance that we’re very much still in the hype cycle.
GenAI: Beyond the Buzz
While the big brand software titans flex their marketing muscles in the GenAI arms race, start-up founders are navigating a noisy landscape, tirelessly seeking traction for their own innovations. While the newcomers are unencumbered, the more established are under pressure to show shareholders they’re positioned to take more market share. This ‘pressure’ can lead to short-term measures that risk these companies’ ability to play the long game as this new frontier reveals itself. And Enterprise leaders are stuck in the middle, torn between keeping pace with an accelerating technology and ensuring they have controls in place to minimize risk and turn hype into outcomes for their businesses. We are still very early in understanding GenAI and its full potential, and I heard many industry veterans say we are still some ways away from understanding how these LLMs actually work.
A Bold Vision and Challenge for Technologists
What struck me most is the potential for our generation of technologists to reshape the future and, for the first time in my career, chart a new path that avoids the problems of the past and establishes the foundation for self-learning, self-healing autonomous enterprises. The challenge for us is clear: can we harness the power of GenAI to improve employee productivity and customer experience while removing the operational risk and complexity we’ve allowed to accumulate in the decades gone by? I believe we are entering a leadership moment to revolutionize and change the way the world builds software.
Rethinking GenAI's Dimension
As we stand at this inflection point, it's crucial to view the power of GenAI as multi-dimensional. Turning text to code is merely a single dimension, and to be honest, one that concerns me. More code doesn't necessarily mean better experiences for customers or employees. More code only guarantees more code, and we are better than that. We must use GenAI to reduce the sheer volume of code that’s already built up and not pile on top of it, so we avoid the pitfall of perpetuating the ever-increasing tech debt that weighs us down.
A Call to Action for Tech Leaders
In our mission to unlock GenAI's full potential, let's not overlook the importance of structure. It will be this structure that keeps us on the right path and trajectory going forward. Turning thousands of business processes into code may seem efficient, as we can now do it quicker, almost like a fast-food fix. However, like fast food, it won’t be good for you. The reality is when you distil down the business process of most large global companies, you find a core set of processes with regional, product, or market variations. It's our duty as current tech leaders to embrace GenAI holistically, putting structures in place that protect the core processes while allowing for these business variations. We have the opportunity to not just generate a bunch of code for a broken process, but to partner with GenAI tools to blueprint a new vision for our business. Instead of just cranking out code, we could be designing optimized business processes, built on established best practices and ready for the autonomous future.
The Breakthrough We Seek
By embracing GenAI in a multi-dimensional way, we have the chance to revolutionise software development; to sculpt a future where technology reduces complexity, enhances efficiency, and truly aligns with business objectives. The actions we take this year will shape and define the technological landscape of tomorrow. Let’s make it one we’ll be proud to hand over to the next generation of technology leaders.
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