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How to Prepare for GenAI

GenAI’s mainstream usage is recent, dating back only to 2021. There are still many unknowns and complexities companies must grapple with as they integrate GenAI-powered conversational commerce into their strategy and daily ways of working. Data and technology issues will obviously be crucial to this transition, but so too will employee and process changes.


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Companies must grapple with many unknowns and complexities as they integrate GenAI-powered conversational commerce.

Strategy: The first and most important step is for leaders to set the tone at the top, embracing GenAI and articulating the benefits for the business, employees and customers. To put the strategy on solid footing, leaders need to identify and prioritize use cases based on customer needs. Because GenAI is evolving rapidly, leaders also need to plan for future capabilities not just the current ones. Their strategic roadmap should include investing in a data foundation that will underpin GenAI models, developing partnerships and adapting their business models.

Technology: The technology landscape is complex, with many players vying for a place in the emerging industry. Companies will need to conduct build vs. buy vs. partner analyses to determine the best way to roll out GenAI-powered conversational commerce. How much expertise does the company have in house? What are vendors’ real capabilities? Which vendors can build custom solutions, and which can just operate off-the-shelf solutions?

As part of the technology integration, companies will need to evaluate language models, platform and tools, customization, ecosystems and integration, and availability. After that evaluation, they will need to prepare additional corporate data and plug in live data feeds, create the initial ruleset, engage in Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF), integrate into front ends, and finally monitor and manage the pilot.

People and Processes: To unlock value, organizations should be bold in re-thinking processes, even re-imagining whole functions. Solid change management will be critical as the organization evolves its operating model, identifies skill gaps, hires and trains employees to fill those gaps, and assigns new roles.

For many employees, the adjustments won’t be minor. As companies adopt GenAI-powered conversational commerce, employees will spend less time doing manual, specialized work; instead, they will be trained to manage and interact with technologies designed to provide business insights. They will participate in more cross-functional teaming, enhanced evaluative thinking, and expedited decision making. In other words, their roles will become more strategic and value-adding, and new roles will emerge (such as a Chief AI Officer) 

Governance: GenAI poses significant risks that companies must manage, including factual correctness, difficulty explaining results, data privacy, security, biased outputs, and copyright infringement. A “Responsible AI” framework starts by setting ethical principles, risk taxonomy, and tolerance. Then leaders must put a governance structure in place to oversee key processes, technology and tools, and the culture. The intent of Responsible AI is to deploy AI systems in a way that aligns with a company’s purpose and values while also delivering transformative business impact.

GenAI is ushering in enormous change for conversational commerce. For consumers this will be a welcome upgrade from today’s unintelligent chatbots. Companies also have much to gain in terms of better efficiencies, margins, revenue, and customer service. Adapting to GenAI will undoubtedly take time and effort, touch many parts of the organization, and change long-established ways of working. But according to our survey results, the competitive rewards will be significant.

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