GenAI Market Research: Senior Decision Maker ‘enthusiasm’ tempered by lack of understanding and preparedness

A recent study of senior key decision makers in the UK & Ireland has revealed that a strong enthusiasm for generative AI (GenAI) is being tempered by a lack of strategic planning and understanding, concerns around data privacy and security, as well as a lack of preparedness to comply with regulations and establish a governance framework.

The study, conducted earlier this year by Coleman Parkes Research Ltd. and commissioned by SAS, surveyed 200 UK & Ireland GenAI strategy and data analytics decision-makers to pulse check major areas of investment and the hurdles organisations are facing around the technology.

It asked questions about organisations’ current plans to deploy GenAI, how the technology is integrated into their strategic planning, and what challenges they are facing. Find out more by reading the report entitled Generative AI Challenges and Potential Unveiled: How to Achieve a Competitive Advantage.

The study found six in 10 organisations (62%) have begun to implement GenAI, including 9% that have fully integrated the technology at an enterprise level, indicating a strong desire to harness its capabilities after it shot to prominence when ChatGPT launched in 2022.

Of those organisations to adopt GenAI, a high number report seeing significant benefits from the technology already. A large majority, 96%, report improved employee experience and satisfaction, 90% say that they are saving on operational costs, and 94% state that customer retention is higher.

The study also revealed if companies haven’t yet implemented GenAI, then they are planning to, with the vast majority (90%) planning to invest in GenAI for 2024/25, and almost one in five planning to roll it out at enterprise level.

But this enthusiasm for the capability of GenAI and what it can achieve for businesses, is being hampered by a lack of understanding – with 96% of senior decision-makers admitting that they do not fully understand GenAI or its potential impact on business processes.

SAS’ study also found that less than one in 10 organisations in the UK & Ireland (8%) has undergone the preparation needed to comply with GenAI regulations, while 95% lack a comprehensive governance framework for GenAI.

Three-quarters of decision makers admit they are concerned about data privacy (75%) and security (72%) when it comes to using the technology, and fewer than one in 20 organisations (4%) provide a high level of training on GenAI governance and monitoring. Furthermore, almost eight in 10 organisations (77%) are not able to continuously monitor their GenAI systems.

Speaking on the findings, Dr Iain Brown, Head of Data Science at SAS Northern Europe, said; “It’s good to see that decision-makers in the UK and Ireland recognise that GenAI can drive innovation, new conversational experiences, and operational efficiency but the findings indicate that many businesses have not fully prepared to successfully deploy it.

“Firms are encountering difficulties with implementation too and all these issues threaten to waste resources, reduce competitiveness and even render them legally non-compliant. Businesses need to spend significant time developing a progressive GenAI strategy that ensures integration, governance and explainability. We are looking forward to supporting our customers in these areas and we know our technology can accelerate their journey to trustworthy GenAI.”

The SAS study sets out a number of recommendations that organisations should follow to successfully deploy GenAI, including the four steps below:

  • Strategic deployment
  • Comprehensive governance
  • Technological integration
  • Expert guidance

The findings of SAS study on GenAI were released today as part of SAS Innovate on Tour, taking place at The Kia Oval in London. SAS’ global report on GenAI will be released later this year with further guidance around best practices and strategic insights aimed at empowering businesses to harness the technology’s full potential, along with comparisons across key markets and industry sectors.


The survey was conducted by Coleman Parkes from 14 February to 12 April 2024, and targeted 200 decision-makers in GenAI strategy or data analytics in organisations across key sectors in the UK & Ireland. Survey respondents work across a range of sectors: banking, insurance, the public sector, life science, health, telco, manufacturing, retail, energy and utilities, and professional services. Their job titles include Data Manager, IT Director, and Chief Information Officer. The smallest organisations we surveyed employed a workforce of 1,000—1,999 people and the largest had more than 10,000 employees. The research conforms to the British Market Research Society’s Quality Standards, including ISO 20252.

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