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Businesses are increasingly considering the deployment of Generative AI (GenAI) to boost productivity and deliver new value propositions to customers. However, one of the key challenges faced by companies when deploying GenAI is realizing Return on Investment (ROI). The PwC 2024 AI Jobs Barometer highlights the faster productivity growth in sectors with higher AI exposure such as financial services, IT, and professional services. However, caution is advised, as correlation does not imply causation, and the difficulty in estimating and demonstrating the value of GenAI remains a major obstacle to deployment and adoption.

In evaluating GenAI’s ROI in a business context, it is important to focus on effectiveness before efficiency. Productivity gains associated with GenAI deployment often overshadow the importance of effectiveness and efficiency gains in a business perspective. Prioritizing GenAI use cases should consider a holistic view that values gains across departments and processes to drive sustainable organizational enhancements from effectiveness towards efficiency. The focus should be on achieving desired outcomes and optimizing processes rather than solely on increasing productivity.

While time savings generated by GenAI may lead to efficiency gains, it does not necessarily translate into staff reductions. The saved time across tasks does not equate to the workload of full-time employees dedicated solely to those tasks. Businesses should concentrate on reducing operational inefficiencies, reallocating time to enhance critical tasks, and fostering innovation in areas that require human creativity and strategic thinking. Rather than focusing on direct staff reductions, businesses should aim to utilize freed-up time to improve overall operations.

Process maturity is essential before realizing the promises of GenAI deployment. Organizations must prioritize GenAI use cases based on the assessment of possible gains within the context of process maturity and criticality. The operational excellence and maturity of the organization in executing the process related to the GenAI use case play a crucial role in realizing expected gains. Organizations must have the capacity to verify and validate the outcomes generated by GenAI for informed decision-making. Consideration of gains beyond productivity, time reallocation instead of staff reduction, and process maturity is essential in assessing the ROI of GenAI use cases.

In conclusion, businesses should not get caught up in the hype surrounding GenAI deployment but should conduct a comprehensive analysis to assess ROI effectively. The allure of substantial gains should be balanced with rigorous assessment and testing to ensure that expected outcomes are realized. Businesses should adopt a strategic approach that prioritizes effectiveness over productivity, reallocates time effectively, and considers process maturity in deploying GenAI use cases. By carefully evaluating these factors, businesses can maximize the benefits of GenAI deployment and achieve a strong ROI.

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