Ahead of the curve: How generative AI is revolutionizing the content supply chain – IBM

The global adoption of generative AI is upon us, and it’s essential for marketing organizations to understand and play in this space to stay competitive. With content demands expected to grow in the next few years, organizations need to create more content at a faster pace to meet customer expectations and business needs. Knowing how to manifest these improvements is not always clear: Enter generative AI and the content supply chain.
A content supply chain brings together people, processes, and technology to effectively plan, create, produce, launch, measure, and manage content. It encompasses an end-to-end content journey—a journey that can create faster time to value. We know that infusing generative AI into the content supply chain will enable companies to produce more personalized content faster and more efficiently. So, what is stopping companies from delivering content with generative AI across their content supply chain?
The advent of generative AI is raising several questions and concerns for leaders. In recent years organizations have been concerned with their ability to create and deliver content fast enough to meet customer expectations, and now that generative AI could address those issues, another question comes to the fore: Can we trust AI tools and technology to augment employees. Leaders across the world are experiencing a mix of emotions when it comes to implementing and embracing generative AI. There is excitement, curiosity, and a bit of angst—sometimes felt simultaneously. Most of us are familiar with the term “FOMO”, or fear of missing out. But people are also feeling “FOGI”, fear of getting in, with generative AI.
The FOMO these organizations face relates to not being able to create content fast enough to keep up with expectations or wasting money on tools that may not turn out to be as efficient as once thought. The FOGI concern revolves around trust, and whether they can trust the AI tools and technology to augment employees. Will the outputs deliver content that will resonate with their customers? Can they trust the AI will operate in a secure way? Can they trust that the AI will reward the initial individual creator? Can they trust that what’s created isn’t going to break any brand guidelines?
This blog and the IBM Institute for Business Value study The Revolutionary Content Supply Chain aim to answer these questions to help  executives and their employees to better understand the changing landscape in content creation and embrace the power of generative AI models when it comes to optimizing their content supply chains.
Any new concept or major change comes with some hesitancy and push back. Change isn’t linear; it requires strategic change management to deal with the transition. Employees and executives alike struggle to take on a new way of thinking or working when they’ve been operating the same way for years. Modernizing a workflow to introduce a content supply chain means disruption and uncertainty. But it also means creating an end-to-end content journey that is fast and accurate and, ultimately, meets customers at the level of their expectations. 
Change management is a crucial part of adopting a new content supply chain and trusting the process. These new technologies can garner a lot of power and a level of uncertainty. However, the adoption of generative AI and a content supply chain can be a massive opportunity for your organization.
Respondents to the study are “keenly aware” of where their content processes need improvement. 88% said they need an easier way to access approved assets for activation across applications and 79% want to experiment with content, audience, and experience variation to drive customer engagement and the customer experience.
As described in the IBM Institute for Business Value study, an ad hoc “Frankenstein” like system that engages a variety of platforms and tools, can turn to a consolidated system and operating model to meet the increasing demand for more and more data integration, content generation, and intelligent automation.
Separately, the findings from the study show that while most respondents are already engaging with generative AI, a very small number—just 2%—are optimizing the technology. Organizations are seeking out new approaches to managing their content supply chain and generative AI embedded in platforms, such as Adobe Firefly, could be the most impactful. 
Generative AI isn’t just for one area of a business. Instead, it can help content creators across many functions, such as marketing, customer support, product development, operations, and more. The study found 95% of respondents agree that generative AI will be a game changer. And nearly all CMOs surveyed believe that generative AI will free up marketing teams from mundane tasks so they can focus on more creative endeavors.
Content supply chains and generative AI are still very much in the early days, but it’s important to power your ecosystem prior to engagement. For these new technologies to be successful, it means bringing together different business units and stakeholders to align on a shared vision. More than 80% respondents report already engaging with generative AI. Additionally, almost three in four (74%) report that they’re still in a pilot mode, while just a quarter have gone beyond pilots to start implementation.
In addition to internal ecosystems, it’s also important to power your external ecosystem so that external parties—such as Adobe, IBM and AWS—can work together to enable generative AI to supercharge a content supply chain. Specifically, the study points out, many organizations are taking a hybrid approach to AI by blending their proprietary models with best-in-class SaaS platforms infused with AI and public and open-source models. It’s no surprise that adoption of AI has been so popular given its wide swathe of activities across the full content supply chain journey.
To deliver the most value from generative AI, taking the time to set a solid foundation is key. It is clear there is still a lot of work to be done, with only 5% of respondents saying they have an organization-wide approach for generative AI best practices and governance, and half of organizations still in the process of establishing these measures.
We’ve established the benefits that generative AI has to offer and the potential it can bring to transform the content supply chain. But with major transformations such as these come potential risks and any organization interested in generative AI should be taking steps to mitigate said risks.
The IBM Institute for Business Value study found 43% of survey respondents confess their organizations have not set up an AI ethics council. Beyond ethics risks, the study points out, there are also cost risks to consider. Organizations must weigh the impact that a content supply chain expansion fueled by generative AI will have on their back-end technologies. If organizations are aiming to produce more content, then more high-performance computing is required and could in turn increase on-premises computing costs.
These risks must be assessed in the context of benefits and trusting the generative AI tool your organization chooses to implement. The end-to-end makeup of an enterprise content supply chain is one of its biggest advantages, but is also one of its biggest challenges, with ownership being one of the main areas of contention. The respondents’ answers varied widely when it came to who was the primary owner of their content supply chain.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that many respondents surveyed said they are worried about the potential for organizational silos, complex stakeholders and competing agendas. The lack of change management strategy for new processes and tools is apparent across organizations and needs to be addressed in order content supply chain to set up the content supply chain for success. Instead of moving quickly to demonstrate positive outcomes and ultimately shortchanging this long-game effort, organizations need to take preliminary action at the requirements-gathering stage. By doing so, it enables trust from employees who then help to navigate the transformation within their teams and across the organization.
The disruptive nature of generative AI can feel overwhelming, but through long-term change management and trust, organizations can transform their content supply chain and be the catalyst for a needed organizational culture shift.
The study highlights the advantages of content supply chain. It provides readers and clients a better understanding of how generative AI can enhance outcomes and overcome some of the operational challenges suppressing progress. 
Content supply chain transformation touches many functions and requires cooperation across executives. The study provides a detailed breakdown of practical actions for key C-suite executives, including CMOs, CTOs, and CFOs, to help prepare them for content supply chain enhancements.
Generative AI is changing the world and now is the time to establish your organization as a leader in your industry. Get started by embracing the technology and ensuring your organization has the right internal and external ecosystems to manage the transformation. Breaking down silos is not easy and won’t be fast, but organizations taking the more calculated route will lay the groundwork for innovation that can keep up with the pace of change brought to bear by generative AI. This is only the beginning.  
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