Generative AI, according to research and advisory firm Forrester, is the most impactful technological advancement since the internet.
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Forrester's 2024 forecast is strongly linked to AI because Forrester believes that generative AI will be a change agent for all business functions and industries. "It's time to think big and move fast. 2024 will redefine business as we know it," said Sharyn Leaver, Forrester's chief research officer. "Generative AI will be the fulcrum that businesses rely on to enhance, empower, and engage employees and customers — with or without you. Embrace the misstep, and think big."
Here are the top 15 Forrester predictions for 2024:
- Generative AI will seep into consumers' lives. 60% of skeptics will use (and love) generative AI — knowing it or not.
- AI will spur the age of creativity. Enterprise AI initiatives will boost productivity and creative problem-solving by 50%. Current AI projects already cite improvements of up to 40% in software development tasks.
- Agencies will bet big on "brand-specific" AI models. The top 10 agencies will spend $50 million in partnerships to build custom AI solutions for enterprise clients.
- AI processing will hit a wall in 2024. Limited chip availability will drive common sense and tamper down irrational AI expectations.
- The clouds will launch prompt engineering services to no avail. 80% of firms will add prompt engineering talent internally to accelerate value delivery. With incomplete contextual data and limited experience in natural language and prompt engineering among data scientists, cloud providers' first-gen prompt engineering services will not suffice when it comes to addressing tailored, fine-tuned needs.
- Backstage will take center stage. An open-source developer portal created by Spotify and donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Backstage will be the number one framework for self-service developer portals.
- GenAI will augment customer service agents' capabilities. Customer Experience (CX) will improve for the first time in three years. Improvements will be most pronounced in Europe and APAC. In North America, the US will improve, while Canada will continue to struggle.
- Marketers will become privacy champions. CMOs at five large consumer brands will fund dedicated privacy resources. Yet, only 17% of privacy decision-makers say that their organization's privacy team has marketing competencies or skills. To bust this bottleneck, five large B2C brands will earmark a portion of their marketing budget specifically to fund additional headcount to the privacy team and/or upskill existing privacy colleagues.
- Generational differences will alter B2B buying preferences. Two out of five millennial buyers will demand early access to B2B product experts. Forrester predicts that 40% of younger buyers will rate person-to-person meetings with product experts as their most meaningful personal interactions. Top sellers should forge effective partnerships with these experts and effectively orchestrate all person-to-person interactions. Sellers who practice this will see their time spent on direct buyer engagement rise to 25% or more of their overall work week.
- An "EX Winter" will freeze employee experience investments. In 2024, many teams that drive employee experience (EX) will suffer from a lack of funding or focus. Take diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), for example. The percentage of companies that funded a DEI function with an endorsed strategy and personnel dropped from 33% in 2022 to 27% in 2023. Forrester predicts that this number will fall to 20% by the end of 2024 in the wake of cuts that disproportionately affect DEI teams. Tech investments won't drive EX forward, either. While 66% of technology decision-makers who work in software say that they will invest in EX/human capital management software next year, those investments won't be used to their full advantage.
- Europe will lead hybrid work adoption. 40% of European employees will work from home regularly. Only 11% of European business leaders expect employees to return to the office full-time. For comparison, in 2023, 28% of all US employees' workdays are spent working from home.
- Climate risk will become employee experience risk. Employee action will force adaptation accommodations at five Fortune 500 firms.
- Customer trust will remain up for grabs. News organizations will have a resurgence as trusted sources of information. According to Forrester's 2023 data, social media's reputation is disintegrating across the globe: 81% of online adults in the US, the UK, Spain, and Italy agree that there is a lot of fake news and misinformation on social media. The numbers aren't much better in metro China, where 63% of online adults agree with this sentiment.
- APAC firms will struggle to operationalize customer trust. 25% of APAC multinational corporations will adopt customer trust as a key mission, but only 5% will measure it. Forrester estimates that by the end of 2024, 25% of APAC's largest companies will vocalize their strategic commitment to customer trust, but only 5% will effectively codify that commitment through measurement and organizational KPIs.
- Regulators will have genAI in their sights. An app using ChatGPT will be fined for its handling of personally identifiable information.
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We know that most people are concerned about the implications of generative AI on data security, ethics, and bias. In fact, 81% of customers want a human to be in the loop, reviewing and validating generative AI outputs. Research also validates that every AI project begins as a data project, but it's a long, winding road. Businesses need a new operating model to compete in an AI-powered economy. If you want your business to succeed in a world of AI, you'll need to operate in a boundless manner.
To learn more about Forrester's research and 2024 predictions, you can visit here.