Generative AI in EMEA: How we align people, tech, and legislation

  • Paul Hardy
  • Solutions
  • AI and Automation
  • 2023
22 August 2023

Teacher giving computer science lecture

The rapid rise of generative AI—AI that can learn from existing models to create something entirely new—has escaped no one. From the ubiquitous ChatGPT to AI art and even AI-powered coding, the potential for businesses and consumers is significant.

It’s worth noting, however, that the development, adoption, and understanding curves for AI are increasing at very different rates. While the technology itself is flourishing in the region, maximising its impact while keeping practices safe and secure requires an increase in the baseline of digital knowledge.

With EU regulators continuously introducing more guidelines, no business can afford to dive headfirst into the tech without first understanding the boundaries. This, in turn, raises the question: How can organisations across EMEA work to align people, tech, and legislation to unlock the true potential of generative AI?

The challenges associated with generative AI

First and foremost, business leaders should consider the challenges and implications of this new technology. Generative AI is well placed to transform businesses for the better. Without full understanding, however, it’s easy to slip up.

In Europe, constant updates and revisions to legislature surrounding AI means organisations must work hard to collaborate with authorities and remain compliant. The European Union recently announced plans for a dedicated AI Act, setting out varying risk levels of AI systems and establishing obligations for providers and users alike.

Organisations should also be aware of the internal risks posed by advanced generative AI. The technology itself requires users to input information—whether by uploading images or entering written prompts. As a result, there can be confidentiality concerns. Business leaders should be mindful of the threat of unauthorised disclosure across free public AI tools of confidential information, trade secrets, or other intellectual property.

If left unchecked, this type of breach could cause knock-on effects to company security at a time when responsible data management is more important than ever. A ServiceNow and Opinium survey found that ‘a good level of security’ is the number one concern for customers across EMEA when choosing to do business with a company. Organisations that don’t prioritise their customers’ data risk more than the data itself—they risk customer loyalty.

An opportunity for innovation

It’s important not to lose sight of the true potential of generative AI, which is overwhelmingly positive. When used responsibly, it has the power to revolutionise the workplace, boost operational efficiency, and free staff from manual tasks.

Robotic process automation (RPA) technology and low-code are features that ServiceNow has been continually investing in—both of which are included in the company’s latest generative AI announcement and StarCoder base model. ServiceNow has also expanded its partnerships with Microsoft and NVIDIA respectively to create new integrations with the Now Platform® and provide even greater access to generative AI capabilities.

It’s these continual advancements that will help organisations across all industries maximise the business impact of automation. Put simply, it’s about putting innovation and the ability to solve problems into the hands of the people who will benefit from it most.

By empowering staff to solve their own problems, organisations can save valuable time and resources. Issues may be addressed faster, with minimal budget, and in order of priority as dictated by those who experience the issues every day. This kind of innovation can, in turn, contribute to a better overall employee experience while simultaneously driving a higher level of productivity.

Ultimately, it’s an opportunity to unlock smarter ways of working to benefit employers, employees, and customers alike. This is particularly advantageous in the context of today’s business climate, where investing in technology to support a strong Total Experience is proving more important than ever.

Our research found that three-quarters of customers in EMEA are less loyal to brands compared to two years ago. However, the study also shows these customers would be more loyal to organisations that treat their employees well and understand their customers. Companies are facing a very real opportunity to drive increased loyalty through a top-tier experience.

Steps to achieve maximum potential

The opportunity to drive better experiences with generative AI is ready and waiting. To get there, business leaders must define strategies that meet the specific needs of their organisation and consider the practical steps they can take to better align people, tech, and understanding in general. A few tips to consider:

  • Adapt the organisational mindset: After achieving a base level of understanding of the appropriate guidance and regulations, business leaders must consider how they educate their employees. In today’s business environment, where technology runs through every part of an organisation and processes are increasingly interconnected, it’s not enough to leave compliance to the IT department or to treat it as a siloed initiative. To reduce the risk of security slip-ups, it’s vital to connect the dots and educate teams across the entire organisation.
  • Identify the business need and value: Seeing AI for what it is—a legitimate tool for business growth—rather than another bandwagon to hop on is crucial. Before making any significant investments, business leaders should consider their business needs to determine where and how generative AI can deliver real value to the business.
  • Eliminate obstacles to change: What this looks like will vary from company to company. It may be a lack of visibility in certain areas or disjointed, disconnected processes that could get in the way of a successful automation strategy.
  • Harness good data: AI can only be as good as the data used to train them, right now most businesses will require significant effort to unlock AI's full potential. However, at ServiceNow we are already working with a select number of customers to create Enterprise LLMs (large language model) as part of our Global AI Innovation Program. This program is expected to extend in the coming months.

The future of generative AI

A wealth of interesting developments are being made in the generative AI space right now. The latest releases from ServiceNow—including StarCoder, the Utah release, and opportunities on Now Assist—mean we can help take an organisation’s AI capabilities to the next level and provide a strong, stable technology foundation on which to build.

Find out more about how generative AI could transform your organisation.


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