GenAI Training is a Game-Changer for Middle East Executives

February 20, 2024 hr-hrobserver-GenAI

The Middle East region is leading in upskilling efforts related to GenAI, however, despite this progress, there is room for improvement, as currently, only 11% of Middle East executives report that more than a quarter of their workers have received training in GenAI tools, said Boston Consulting Group in a recent research.

“The Middle East is making significant progress in the field of GenAI by developing essential AI capabilities and recognizing the importance of data as a key asset for immediate and strategic value,” says David Panhans, Managing Director and Senior Partner at Boston Consulting Group.

 “The region’s focus on leveraging data for AI and GenAI solutions to various business challenges, combined with a digital-first, data-driven mindset, sets the region apart in GenAI and enables substantial productivity gains and innovation,” explains Panhans.

The BCG AI Radar: From Potential to Profit with GenAI report is based on a survey of 1,406 C-level executives in 50 markets and 14 industries. 

Around 71% of the executives surveyed plan to increase tech investments in 2024—an 11-point jump from 2023—and even more (85%) plan to increase their spending on AI and GenAI, the research found.

“As the Middle East continues to excel in AI and GenAI, a key focus is on building the necessary AI muscle to support and advance this area,” states Mark Zaleski, Managing Director and Partner at BCG X.

Although a small percentage of companies are already reaping the rewards of AI and GenAI, others are either playing catch up or standing on the sidelines. More than 60% of executives surveyed say their firms are still waiting to see how AI-specific regulations develop, and just 6% of companies have trained more than 25% of their people on GenAI tools so far. 

According to the research’s findings, organisations planning to invest more than $50 million in AI and GenAI this year are 1.3 times more likely to see cost savings in 2024—and 1.5 times more likely to achieve more than 10% in cost savings. 

“In the Middle East, AI can redefine company operations, creating significant value for individual businesses and the broader economies. This shift towards AI-driven transformation demands a ‘Value-first’ approach and ’Tech + Change Management’ mindset to succeed across various sectors,” says Robert Xu, Managing Director and Partner at BCG X.

BCG said that 21% of the organisations spending upward of $50 million on AI and GenAI this year have already trained more than a quarter of their people. Only 19% of those surveyed consider cost the top concern when choosing an AI and GenAI solution. 

Of the companies surveyed that are investing more than $50 million in AI in 2024, 27% put the CEO in charge of their RAI strategy, said BCG.

“Integrating GenAI into our business ecosystems will not only improve operational efficiencies and bring topline impact but also encourage the development of new business models, fostering economic growth and regional development,” explained Xu.

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