2023 was the year of Generative AI. Boards and Executives have sparked a renewed interest in technology since reemergence of AI in the form of ChatGPT and GPT-4 and it recently estimated that only 50% of organisations globally are piloting or scaling Generative AI initiatives in their business, whilst others are being left behind.

Superintelligence, defined as technology superseding human thought and ability is still generations away. As part of our series on Generative AI, I will summarise our current and potential future state of AI and the implications on businesses moving forward. Whether AI ever reaches the level of superintelligence, even today, 30% of administrative tasks across organisations could be automated and currently observed in two forms:

    1. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA has been implemented to conduct repetitive tasks such as payments, social media, e-commerce, supply chain and manufacturing.

    1. Generative AI (Gen AI)

Gen AI including ChatGPT aggregates existing information to generate text, images, and other data. Early uses have seen impacts in certain functions including software development, research, chatbots and content creation.

While RPA automates tasks in a repetitive, linear manner, Machine Learning and Generative AI continuously enrich the dataset and iterate. The exponential advancement of AI will move at a pace that humans will struggle to comprehend, not alone monitor in practice.

The 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle suggests that a significant portion of outcomes is derived from a small fraction of causes. This principle is evident in computing, where specific software features or components play a crucial role in system usage and value. Furthermore, when compounded over three iterations, only a minuscule 0.8% of causes could contribute to over half of the results.

Hypothetically, this could mean that focusing investment on the vital 20% can lead to a fourfold increase in outcomes, while the top 0.8% may yield 64 times more impact compared to the remaining 80% or 99.2%. Conversely, errors and mistakes may equally accumulate in the opposite direction, highlighting the importance of effective governance and use of technology, particularly AI.

Leaders, more than ever face the challenge of identifying technology investments for growth and mitigating the potential risks. The stakes of getting it right and wrong are heightened due to the increased awareness and accessibility of AI tools inside and outside of their business.

In this new era of Generative AI, the conceptualisation of new products and business models can be generated from a prompt based on a mere thought and organisations’ requirement to adapt at pace will far supersede the rate of change sparked by the internet.



The conversation on technology replacing jobs is well discussed and one might assume people will become collateral damage from the emergence of AI. Since last year, despite some organisations replacing customer service teams utilising Generative AI, the general consensus is that these tools will augment existing processes and have reported productivity gains across software development, strategy planning and content creation.

Generative AI’s impact on organisations should be viewed akin to the smartphone on the photography industry. Despite bringing accessibility to the general masses, a professional photography industry prevails, albeit with a much more niche and specialised capability.

So, what are the implications for Generative AI? What do leaders need to be wary of?

Demographics and Organisation Maturity with AI – Leaders must ensure a technology enabled environment and culture to attract a generation of young, digital natives. Users who are accustomed to legacy technology and processes will also have the challenge of adapting to embracing Generative AI.

Cybersecurity and Governance – Cyber incidents recently have been strongly attributed to user error and social engineering. With AI, quantum computing, IT/OT and integrated technology across business operations, the volume and breadth of threats will only continue to expand. Technology leaders must set the appropriate guard rails for users to protect the business but also not inhibit the autonomy of their customers.

Legacy Technology – Legacy systems will continue to be the ball and chain to organisations’ ability to be nimble and realise the benefits of new technology. Without completely sunsetting legacy platforms, the maintenance of systems decades old will only add unnecessary costs for business and more importantly, lingering operational, and cyber risks.

Generative AI in the foreseeable future, will only disrupt and threaten jobs viewed as commodities, and more likely will be an extension of roles and functions that are already outsourced or non-differentiating. In recent studies, Generative AI has recorded a 40% increase in productivity in creativity related tasks but a 23% decrease in productivity of tasks with a level of complexity, and until AIs converse with each other on our behalf, customers and organisations will still be heavily influenced by human interaction.

The saying “a rising tide lifts all boats”, could be applied to how technology creates new workforce standards. Moving forward, it would be unsurprising to view Prompt Engineering to be the equivalent of Microsoft Office Skills of the 1990s. Generative AI is already providing access to individuals and organisations to generate new revenue streams and customer experiences without the need for deep technology expertise or resources, which is a game changer for organisations historically budget constrained and levels the playing field.

As tools like Generative AI become widely accessible, organisations should look towards acquiring talent that possess non-tangible skills including critical thinking and pragmatism in staying ahead of this constantly shifting domain. To stay competitive, organisations must take the front-foot in integrating digital and AI across their operations, processes, and people whilst balancing an effective transition away from legacy processes and thinking.



A key differentiator will be identifying the right technology leadership to maximise the opportunities of Generative AI. Below, I will share some key attributes for securing the appropriate Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the future.

The title of CIO has been reviewed and refreshed in recent times, resulting in confusion and misrepresentation of the role. In our view, the CIO is the executive with oversight across all technology decisions including digital and AI, and is alternatively presented as the Chief Technology Officer, Chief Digital Officer, or Executive General Manager or Group Executive for Technology and Digital.

Generative AI has reinvigorated a genuine interest from Boards and Executives across the market to invest in technology. Despite the promises of new business models and growth opportunities, experienced leaders rightfully tread with caution, reflecting on the pitfalls and scrutiny of failed IT transformations and excessive spending in technology and digital.

With the emergence of Generative AI, the CIO not only must be a strategic and commercial leader but will have to apply their expertise holistically to identify opportunities for technology enablement and enhancement across their business. With the plethora of platforms and IT resources readily available, the challenge for CIOs is less so on technical attributes but to ensure their teams embrace and adequately understand the impacts of Generative AI, Data, Technology and Digital and articulate how it will affect their business and take them on the journey.

Businesses cannot blindly implement AI and must be extra mindful in how it is deployed. Focusing on the benefits of speed and agility without adequate governance may also leave organisations exposed to cyber threats, as well as reputational and operational risk. We have already seen misused cases of Generative AI resulting in privacy and IP breaches, commercial losses, and racial discrimination.

More so than other executive roles, the CIO is uniquely contextual to each business’ strategy and technology maturity and as a result, CIOs also vary based on their lived experiences. More importantly, in the fast moving and exponential pace of Generative AI, organisations must be extra particular in their approach in identifying their CIO to balance present needs and future ambitions.

Organisations’ technology requirements and the subtle nuances of finding the right CIO will be the difference in realising the benefits of Generative AI in a practical way. Depending on the CIO’s background and experience, it may warrant the requirement for a 2IC with complementary skill sets or a leadership team to support execution and management of legacy and present state technology to allow the CIO to focus on the dynamically moving landscape.

The Blenheim Partners Technology Practice understand the nuances of the CIO and organisations’ technology requirements. We invest the time to ensure coverage of the technology executive market to deliver an outcome that meets and exceed our clients’ brief, positioning them towards the future. Reach out to us if you’d benefit from a formal discussion on your technology executive needs. We look forward to partnering with you.

Kenrick Lui
Associate Partner, Technology and Digital Transformation

Contact us