Technology modernization jumps to top of agendas

Singapore and global CEOs look to embrace generative AI

A comprehensive global study conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value has unveiled that more than half of the CEOs surveyed in Singapore prioritize technology modernization as their top business concern. The study, titled “CEO decision-making in the age of AI, Act with intention,” also highlighted that customer experience ranked as the second-highest priority for Singapore CEOs, followed closely by productivity, which claimed the top spot globally. These CEOs are actively seeking to drive organizational performance by leveraging technological advancements. However, obstacles such as the adoption of generative AI and concerns over bias, ethics, and security pose challenges for their modernization efforts.

The annual CEO study encompassed insights from 200 CEOs of multinational corporations, focusing on their response to generative AI. An overwhelming three-quarters of the CEO respondents believe that gaining a competitive edge will depend on who possesses the most advanced generative AI capabilities. Nevertheless, these executives are mindful of the potential risks associated with the technology, including issues of bias, ethics, and data security. Approximately 57 per cent of the CEOs surveyed express concerns about data security, while 48 per cent worry about bias and data accuracy.

Furthermore, the study revealed a discrepancy between CEOs and their teams concerning AI readiness. While 50 per cent of CEOs report integrating generative AI into products and services, and 43 per cent utilize it for strategic decision-making, only 29 per cent of their executive teams believe they possess the in-house expertise required for adopting generative AI. Similarly, just 30 per cent of non-CEO senior executives believe their organizations are prepared to responsibly embrace generative AI.

Colin Tan, General Manager and Technology Leader of IBM Singapore, emphasized the importance of responsible AI adoption, highlighting the need for explainability, fairness, robustness, transparency, and protection of consumer data and privacy.

Key findings from the study indicate that technology modernization is a pressing priority for Singapore CEOs, closely followed by enhancing customer experience and driving productivity. The influence of operational, technology, and data leaders on strategic decision-making is increasing, as identified by Singapore CEO respondents. In the United States, three out of four CEOs expressed readiness to adopt generative AI, although concerns and reservations were prevalent among other executives. Workforce changes fueled by generative AI were observed, but comprehensive assessments of its impact on the workforce were found to be lagging.

The study’s results provide valuable insights for organizations and CEOs in Singapore, highlighting the significance of technology modernization and customer experience while underscoring the need for careful consideration of AI adoption and its potential implications. By embracing responsible AI practices and addressing the concerns surrounding generative AI, businesses can harness its transformative potential to drive growth and achieve strategic objectives.



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