Forget the hype. Here’s what enterprises are actually doing with generative AI – Interview with Stefano Puntoni and Jeremy Korst


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Today’s interview is with Stefano Puntoni, Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School and Director of AI at Wharton, and Jeremy Korst, President at GBK Collective. Stefano and Jeremy join me today to talk about a new report called The Rise of Generative AI in the Enterprise that they collaborated on and recently released, some of the biggest emerging applications and use cases for gen AI in the enterprise space coming out of the report, what reservations leaders have about the technology, the impact that gen AI will have on the demand for talent, what functional areas are lagging behind and what sort of safeguards brands should be putting in place to safely realize the potential of AI with customers.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – The raw and honest truth about what agents think about their jobs – Interview with Juanita Coley – and is number 492 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders who are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Stefano and Jeremy:

  • Stefano collaborated with Jeremy and the GBK Collective on a recent report (The Rise of Generative AI in the Enterprise).
  • Last year there were a lot of predictions swirling about regarding what was going to happen with respect to gen AI, and we thought, wait a minute, why don’t we spend some time understanding what is actually happening now with real users in the enterprise space and what they think is going to happen.
  • The really big eye-opener was simply just how far and deep adoption already is.
  • We found that over 50% of those surveyed said that they are already using generative AI tools in their work.
  • We were surprised at the number of organisations that are actively pursuing lots of different use cases.
  • However, they noticed some interesting differences among those who reported using AI at work.
  • One was around company size, where they saw higher reported usage in smaller companies (>$50 million in revenue) versus large companies. That could suggest something about technology adoption overall or the governance of technology within larger organizations.
  • Another interesting difference we saw is that those who reported using AI had much more positive associations with the technology and its predicted use versus those who haven’t yet used it.
  • Another difference we saw was among functions. While all functions reported some strong usage of AI at work, our colleagues in marketing seem to be lagging behind.
  • This could be down to fatigue, given the massive technological changes the marketing function has gone through in recent years.
  • Stefano offered a couple of different perspectives:
    • He believes that it may have something to do with concerns regarding data privacy, as a lot of marketing users are focused on personalization.
    • Further, he also thinks that generative AI is potentially a threatening technology for marketers.
  • Reservations amongst leaders persist particularly around data privacy, the concern for bias, et cetera.
  • The arrival of generative AI should not be seen as an excuse for thinking less. In fact, I think we need to think even harder.
  • The more advanced the technology you’re working with, the more careful you need to be, the more deliberate, strategic and thoughtful you ought to be.
  • Stefano’s best advice: Understand your customer. There’s a lot of emphasis on technology and the capabilities of systems and new algorithms. But they are nothing unless I serve the customer. And I think we often see companies that tend to forget a little bit of that. The way that sometimes technology, including generative AI, is being deployed is often not really to the service of great customer experiences. It’s often an exercise in cost-cutting and not a device for improving the customer experience. And I think that’s often a mistake.
  • Jeremy’s best advice: Take an outside-in perspective. Even the world’s largest brands can’t be everything to everybody. So, as we take an outside in a perspective. Let’s understand the group of consumers who we’re trying to serve and understand what makes them different because as we deploy these technologies, these user experiences, we really need to craft that entire journey and experience for that group. Perhaps it is a group that prefers not to have to call anybody because they can find everything online, or perhaps it’s the exact opposite. But those types of insights about who I’m trying to serve are just so… important for the brand to be successful, no matter how large it is.
  • Jeremy’s Punk XL brand: T-Mobile
  • Stefano’s Punk XL brand: Microsoft

About Stefano

Stefano Puntoni Wharton Director of AIStefano Puntoni is the Sebastian S. Kresge Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School and and Director of AI at Wharton. Prior to joining Penn, Stefano was a professor of marketing and head of department at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, in the Netherlands. He holds a PhD in marketing from London Business School and a degree in Statistics and Economics from the University of Padova, in his native Italy.

His research has appeared in several leading journals, including Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Marketing, Nature Human Behavior, and Management Science. He also writes regularly for managerial outlets such as Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review. Most of his ongoing research investigates how new technology is changing consumption and society.

He is a former MSI Young Scholar and MSI Scholar, and the winner of several grants and awards. He is currently an Associate Editor at the Journal of Consumer Research and at the Journal of Marketing. Stefano teaches in the areas of marketing strategy, new technologies, brand management, and decision making. In addition to his role at Wharton, he is also a strategic advisor for insights firm GBK Collective.

About Jeremy

Jeremy KorstJeremy Korst is President of GBK Collective. He is a former CMO and product management executive with leading brands including Microsoft, T-Mobile, and Avalara – with a proven track record of helping brands translate customer and competitive insights into marketing and product innovation. As President, Jeremy leads GBK’s strategic marketing and insights practice, focused on helping CMOs, Chief Product Officers and other organizational leaders solve some of today’s toughest marketing and business challenges.

Based in Seattle, Jeremy has deep experience covering an array of disciplines across organizations. Most recently, Jeremy was EVP and CMO of Avalara, a B2B SaaS company. Prior to joining Avalara, Jeremy was GM of Microsoft’s Windows & Devices marketing group. He and his team lead the highly successful global launch of Windows 10, driving the quickest adoption of a new version of Windows ever.

Prior to leading Windows Marketing, he was at T-Mobile where he served as vice president and general manager for several business units, including founding the company’s high-growth mobile broadband and emerging devices business. Jeremy has also held leadership positions in marketing, product management and finance at AT&T Wireless, Standard & Poor’s and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Jeremy also serves on several boards, including the Board of Trustees for the University of Puget Sound, and the Executive Board for Executive Education at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also active in the startup community, serving as an advisor or board member for several companies. He received his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating as a Palmer Scholar, and his BA from the University of Puget Sound, cum laude.

Check out their social handles, and don’t forget to either say Hi or connect with them over there:

Stefano Puntoni | @PuntoniStefano | LinkedIn

Jeremy Korst | @KorstJ | LinkedIn

GBK Collective | @GBKCollective | LinkedIn

The Wharton School | @Wharton | @AIatWharton | LinkedIn

Credit: Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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