15 May 2024
by Giles Colborne

Unleashing the power of applied AI and navigating the roadmap to next-generation innovation

Guest blog from Giles Colborne at Sopra Steria Next as part of our #UnleashInnovation campaign week 2024.

Few technological developments have sparked as much excitement and anticipation as the rise of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI). It’s set to change every aspect of our lives; revolutionising industries, reshaping business models and enhancing the way we live. Yet, amidst the hype, lies a pressing question: How do we harness the transformative power of AI to create meaningful and sustainable value for both people and businesses? 

At the forefront of exploring this question is Sopra Steria Next's GenAI research initiative. Our recent findings shed light on the profound impact that GenAI is poised to have on various facets of our society and economy. From redefining business strategies to navigating ethical considerations, the journey towards unlocking the full potential of AI is multifaceted and dynamic. 

Understanding the Landscape of AI  

AI encompasses a spectrum of technologies, including Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and most notably GenAI. These enable systems to perform tasks that traditionally required human intelligence, such as natural language processing, pattern recognition, and decision-making.  

GenAI refers to a class of AI which has been the real focus in the news over the past 12-18 months. It's probably most familiar in the text-based use cases where software can create original content, anything from a chatbot response or a conversation to an essay with illustrations, and even video with a soundtrack. The real breakthrough is that this content is starting to resemble human created content. 

Navigating the Hype 

Amidst the fervor surrounding AI, it's essential to maintain a sense of perspective. While the potential for transformative impact is undeniable, it's vital to temper expectations and adopt a measured approach and not give into the pressure of AI adoption.  

But the hype is real, and for good reason. 

According to Forbes magazine, ChatGPT is the fastest growing internet app of all time. In just two months it amassed an estimated 100 million monthly users, compared to say Facebook who took four and a half years to hit 100 million users.  

We're seeing some companies that are recognising true gains but there’s a lot to still be realised with the prediction that GenAI will reach the plateau of productivity, where we see mainstream adoption and real business gains that can be quantified in the next two to five years. Some markets and sectors will move faster than others, and now is a good time to take a breath and really think about the implications. Organisations must exercise caution, conduct thorough assessments, and align AI initiatives with overarching business objectives to understand where it can truly add value. 

The Roadmap to GenAI Adoption  

Planning and taking concrete action to take advantage of AI now can have a lasting impact. You need to: 

Avoid the frenzy by understanding AI and having a grounded strategy to ensure you drive the right value for your organisation. 

Build the right foundations for AI that enable the successful adoption of AI, by improving your organisations data, and considering policy, ethics and values in relation to AI. 

Driving the right focus to find meaningful change and benefits by considering customer and employee experiences, workforce strategy and target operating models. 

The journey towards GenAI adoption is not without its challenges. Traditionally with tech adoption you warm people up, give them some training, introduce the technology and they use it. With GenAI we won’t be able to operate like that and organisations will need to fundamentally shift the road map on its head. There will be resistance to the use of GenAI which usually stems from a lack of knowledge, people being worried about what it might do for jobs or organisation, or people being worried about the ethical, moral or legal side of it.  

In our latest Digital Ethics Outlook 52% of respondents were concerned about future job losses with the figure rising in younger respondents, and 55% were concerned that it isn’t fully understood by anyone. 

As AI has moved on from being able to manufacture something quickly to automate a process, GenAI can write a strategy for an organisation. But this doesn’t mean you don’t need a head of strategy, it just means you employ them in a different way, and this is key to the road map for organisations.  

To get the transformational shift you need, you must shift the culture, build trust and buy in early before introducing the technology to overcome barriers. Organisations will also need to build in agility as with the introduction of AI people may need to shift and adapt to what they’re doing very quickly.  

Looking Ahead: Embracing the Future of Applied AI 

AI is the future, but AI can feel overwhelming. As we navigate the roadmap to next-generation innovation, one thing is clear: the journey towards realising the full potential of AI is multifaceted.

View all campaign week content 

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techUK – Unleashing UK Tech and Innovation 


The UK is home to emerging technologies that have the power to revolutionise entire industries. From quantum to semiconductors; from gaming to the New Space Economy, they all have the unique opportunity to help prepare for what comes next.

techUK members lead the development of these technologies. Together we are working with Government and other stakeholders to address tech innovation priorities and build an innovation ecosystem that will benefit people, society, economy and the planet - and unleash the UK as a global leader in tech and innovation.

For more information, or to get in touch, please visit our Innovation Hub and click ‘contact us’. 

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Laura Foster

Laura Foster

Head of Technology and Innovation, techUK

Rory Daniels

Rory Daniels

Programme Manager, Emerging Technologies

Tess Buckley

Tess Buckley

Programme Manager - Digital Ethics and AI Safety, techUK

Usman Ikhlaq

Usman Ikhlaq

Programme Manager - Artificial Intelligence, techUK

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Giles Colborne

Director of Strategy, Sopra Steria Next