Reimagining Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Through Enterprise-Level Gen AI

Posted by Tilly White | 06-May-2024 19:34:00

Retail and CPG industries are in constant states of flux, propelled by changing consumer preferences, emerging technologies and market trends. Many industry insiders believe that early adopters of Generative AI stand to gain significant advantages. For leading organisations, the question has shifted from 'why' to 'when' and 'how' to effectively implement and scale GenAI initiatives. At a recent dinner and discussion for Chief Disruptor members, run in partnership with Cognizant and Microsoft, industry leaders gathered to explore the transformative power of Generative AI at the enterprise level.

Navigating the Complexity of GenAI

One of the central themes of the discussion was the profound impact GenAI will have on the future of work, as businesses embrace digital-first approaches. Drawing from Cognizant Research’s work quantifying the impact of GenAI on productivity in the US economy over the next decade, and spanning 18,000 tasks, it revealed that 90% of roles will be influenced by GenAI. This will lead to $1 trillion of additional GDP by 2032. Just as with previous technological advancements, such as enterprise software development, there are distinct phases: experimentation, confident adoption and maturation. Most organisations are still in the experimentation phase, where organisations are exploring the possibilities of GenAI but have yet to fully integrate it into their operations.

Howe Gu, EMEA Managing Director at Microsoft, provided insights into how companies such as Coca-Cola and Estée Lauder are partnering with Microsoft to embrace GenAI. Coca-Cola is reimagining everything from marketing to manufacturing and supply chain operations. The company is exploring generative AI-powered digital assistants on Azure OpenAI Service to improve customer experiences, streamline operations, foster innovation and gain a competitive edge. Similarly, Estée Lauder is using GenAI to leverage their data to create more personalised consumer experiences and faster insights to action, resulting in increased speed to market and stronger local relevancy.

From Experimentation to Confident Adoption

As organisations stand on the cusp of GenAI transformation, the question arises: How do they transition from experimenting with AI to leveraging it effectively and transforming their businesses? For many organisations, the path to confident adoption begins with proof of value. Demonstrating tangible benefits from GenAI initiatives is essential to gaining buy-in from stakeholders across the organisation. This is made harder as the benefit of AI isn’t always shown with a clear financial gain; it is also about transforming employee and customer experiences. However, Sam Altman's forecast of a "One-person, billion-dollar company" on the horizon resonated deeply, highlighting the potential for GenAI to revolutionise traditional business models.

From enhancing marketing strategies to understanding customer behaviour, success hinges on asking the right questions and defining clear outcomes to maximise ROI. Without a defined objective, the investment in GenAI risks being squandered. The success of GenAI initiatives also hinges on the quality and relevance of the data employed. Organisations must meticulously align their data with the outcomes they seek, ensuring that every decision is grounded in meaningful insights. Furthermore, by leveraging senior-level expertise from leading organisations, businesses can leapfrog ahead in their GenAI journey. Finally, empowering employees with an understanding of GenAI is crucial for its successful integration into organisational processes. Initiatives such as compulsory education on data, coupled with hands-on experimentation, will ensure that GenAI is not confined to technical teams but embraced by all. But with these opportunities come challenges, with ethical considerations looming large. Whilst GenAI holds immense potential, there are ethical limits to consider, such as customer manipulation. This underscores the importance of ethical guidelines and responsible data practices.

Next Steps: Embracing Transformation

When outlining actionable steps for embracing the transformative potential of GenAI, identifying opportunities and educating stakeholders are crucial first steps. By putting data at the heart of the organisation and using GenAI to drive new value streams, businesses can stay ahead of the curve. Moreover, democratising GenAI throughout the organisation is essential. By providing employees with the tools and resources to understand and interact with GenAI, companies can foster a culture of innovation and collaboration. This requires not only technical training but also a mindset shift, where employees feel empowered to experiment. It is not just about how leaders implement GenAI; it is about what they do to transform their businesses. Members came away with actionable steps to unlock the full potential of GenAI: to embrace change, question assumptions and lead with courage.

Connect, Learn and Disrupt with Chief Disruptor

To be kept updated on our future activities, complete our membership form here.

Topics: Activities & Updates, Thought Leadership

Written by Tilly White

Leave a Comment