7 questions to consider before using GenAI in your work Key considerations for effective GenAI integration

The rise of generative AI (GenAI) in the professional services landscape has sparked a wave of interest, yet many organizations remain hesitant to fully embrace its potential. According to the “2024 generative AI in professional services” report by the Thomson Reuters Institute, a significant portion of respondents were not currently using AI but were actively considering how they could integrate it into their operations.

GenAI is a form of AI that can produce text, images, videos, or other types of data through the use of generative models, typically in response to specific prompts. These models absorb the patterns and structures from the data they are trained on and can then create new data that shares similar traits.

For those contemplating using GenAI in their work processes, asking the right questions can help navigate the complexities of implementation and ensure that it aligns seamlessly with specific needs and objectives.

Here are seven thought-provoking questions that can serve as a compass for those considering the adoption of GenAI in their work.

What is your perception of GenAI?

A solid starting point for GenAI usage is to understand and question your own — and your colleagues’ — perception of the technology. Do you or your colleagues see it as a threat or an opportunity? Are you excited about the possibilities or concerned about the potential risks?

According to the Thomson Reuters Institute report, many professionals aren't quite sure what to make of GenAI, with emotions ranging from hesitant to hopeful, excited to concerned, to even fearful.

For those individuals who have reservations about integrating GenAI into their professional routines, it may be helpful to ask why. One significant concern is the phenomenon of "hallucinations" in GenAI outputs, where the technology generates incorrect or misleading information. Beyond this, there are broader ethical concerns with GenAI . These include fears about job displacement and worries about privacy, security, and the misuse of GenAI-generated content.

These concerns can make it difficult for professionals to trust or understand the technology. However, education for a deeper understanding of how GenAI works, coupled with carefully selecting the right tools tailored to specific needs and ethical guidelines, can alleviate these concerns.

It is crucial to be aware of your perception of GenAI to make informed decisions about how you want to use it.

How do you plan on using GenAI?

There are many different ways that professionals can use GenAI in the workplace, so it's essential to find a use case that makes sense for your specific needs.

One of the most common uses is to automate mundane and time-consuming tasks, such as processing large amounts of data or generating reports. Another way to use GenAI in the workplace is to improve decision making; it can analyze data and find patterns that would be difficult for humans to identify.

By carefully considering and questioning how you plan on using GenAI and taking steps to mitigate the risks, you can ensure that the tool is a valuable asset to your business.

Do you have a current process that feels inefficient?

If you can't think of a specific use case for GenAI, start by taking stock of your current processes. Consider the following questions about your current workflows:

  • Are there any repetitive, time-consuming, or error-prone tasks?
  • Are there any areas where you would like to improve efficiency or productivity?
  • Are there any tasks you could automate?
  • Are there any areas where you want to gain more insights or make better decisions?

By taking the time to consider how you’re currently completing work, you may be able to easily identify an area or two where GenAI could be most beneficial for your business.

Do you know the difference between public and industry-specific GenAI?

There are two main types of GenAI to consider: public and industry specific. Public GenAI is often less expensive than industry-specific GenAI and can be used for a wider variety of tasks. However, industry-specific GenAI technology is often more accurate and efficient because it is tailored to the specific needs of a particular industry.

In the 2024 Generative AI report, public-facing tools like ChatGPT seemed to be the primary GenAI technology used currently, but that trend may soon shift as more industry-specific technology providers introduce their own solutions. In fact, for the legal industry specifically, it is predicted that industry-specific tool use could equal or surpass public GenAI tools by 2027.

Knowing the different types of GenAI tools and the benefits and risks allows you to choose the most appropriate tool for your needs.

Have you received training on the use of GenAI?

Even though GenAI has the potential to revolutionize many industries, it's crucial to ensure that you have the necessary skills and expertise to use it effectively. Implementing GenAI without proper training can lead to risks and missed opportunities.

Just like any other technology, GenAI requires a certain level of understanding and proficiency to operate efficiently. Training programs equip professionals with the knowledge to make informed decisions based on GenAI-generated insights and navigate the ethical implications of its usage.

However, many industries remain behind on training, with less than 20% of law firm and tax firm respondents having received any sort of GenAI training. Additionally, a small number of respondents also reported not knowing whether their organization even provides training at all.

The landscape of training for GenAI technologies is currently quite varied and somewhat ambiguous, leaving professionals unsure about the best path to take. Some training options may include product-specific training from technology service providers, webcasts and online courses, or in-person presentations from IT experts.

By receiving proper training on GenAI, you ensure that you possess the skills and knowledge necessary to harness the tool’s full potential.

How will you use the time freed by GenAI?

In the generative AI report, 41% of respondents were excited about the idea of GenAI increasing their efficiencies, and 11% were excited about the time savings. GenAI promises to create efficiency in your work, saving you valuable time by automating repetitive tasks.

These stats bring up the particularly intriguing question: what to do with extra time in your day?

You can spend this extra time doing what you do best, whether that's creative thinking, strategic planning, relationship building with clients or stakeholders, or focusing on your well-being and mental health.

GenAI is here to stay — are you prepared?

GenAI is rapidly changing the world as we know it. From self-driving cars to facial recognition software, we already see a major impact on our lives that is only going to become more prevalent in the years to come.

For businesses, GenAI offers many potential benefits to consider, including increased efficiency, productivity, and satisfaction. However, professionals need to prepare for the challenges and questions that come with the technology, such as the need to retrain employees and address ethical concerns.

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