Indian IT leaders expect generative AI to soon have a big role in their organisations. Image: Shutterstock
o understand how the IT sector is keeping up with the ongoing digital transformation, cloud-based software company Salesforce led a study with IT leaders across 28 countries, including 300 from India.
The findings state that 95 percent of Indian IT leaders expect generative AI to soon have a big role in their organisations. However, leaders are proceeding with caution, with 82 percent also expressing concern about generative AI’s ethics.
“There are concerns and the issues are real,” said Arundhati Bhattacharya, Salesforce India’s CEO and chairperson. “Bias, toxicity, liability, abuse of data—there are several issues but there is a lot of research going on, and companies like ours are working towards addressing them,” she added.
Right now, AI is helping small use cases, she said. For instance, service personnel prompt it to write letters of a better quality and such activities. “It’s more assistive, we have not reached a point where we can allow it to run amok,” she added.
With the ongoing changes in the IT sector, 74 percent of Indian organisations also expressed concerns about trying to keep up with demands, and 95 percent of leaders also say that they’re increasingly focused on driving operational efficiencies. Also read: Covid-19 taught us crisis leadership: Arundhati Bhattacharya
“Delivering innovation, turning data into action, and rising to meet increasing security threats, business has never asked more of technology and its leaders,” said Deepak Pargaonkar, vice-president of solution engineering at Salesforce India.
As a digital advisor to businesses, while Salesforce is looking at the opportunities that lie ahead, it is also ready to welcome competition.
“If we didn’t have competition, we wouldn’t be innovating as much as we are,” said Bhattacharya. “There’s AI in every step of the way—operations, sales, marketing, commerce, so there’s only that much more work to do,” she added.
On being asked if there is going to be any merger and acquisition activity in India, she said, “At this point, I’m not expecting any activity.”
Bhattacharya also said that the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023, was a step in the right direction. Also read: 57% of Indian executives are actively working towards enhancing AI adoption within their organisations: LinkedIn report
“We don’t believe that this is going to stop us from innovating. It is central to one of the values we uphold—trust.” She added, “I don’t think AI and the law are at a crossroads. We need to understand it properly, formalise it, and move ahead.”
In light of the situation about layoffs in the technology sector, Bhattacharya said that there are plans to hire, and upskilling existing employees is something the company is focusing on currently.
And diversity will remain an important factor while hiring. “We are training people for unconscious bias. When I took a module on it, I realised even I had biases, something that I hadn’t anticipated,” she said. “When I joined, I was the only woman, now we have many women at the top. Unless you have them as leaders, there are no role models to keep women in STEM. We do have a long way to go, but diversity is very close to my heart,” she said.