Generative AI sparks family business renaissance: PwC report – CIO

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“The hardest part of digital transformation is changing the culture of the business to align with new challenges — and that’s even more difficult in a family-owned and operated enterprise,” Enrique Hinojosa, a fourth-generation leader of a family-owned business, Welldex Logistics in Mexico, was quoted in the report as saying.

The survey findings too echoed Hinojosa’s sentiment. “They are significantly less optimistic than the current generation of leaders about the business’s readiness and doubt that the current generation grasps the full potential of AI,” Scott Likens, global AI and innovation technology leader at PwC US said in the report. “The upsides encompass ‘unlocking a range of opportunities, including improved products and services, faster time to market, improved decision-making and higher profits.”

Why Family Businesses Matter

According to the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), family businesses account for nearly 70% of global GDP and are significant employment generators. A UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) study stated that two-thirds of businesses worldwide are either owned or managed by family businesses contributing 60% of the world’s workforce.

Thus, “harnessing the potential of generative AI isn’t only about any one firm staying competitive; it’s about shaping the global economic landscape,” advocated the PwC report. According to PwC, NextGen leaders as future business owners are the inheritors of the largest wealth transfer in history and, hence, owe the responsibility towards the society, the environment, the employees, and their families, besides their businesses.

“This includes an outsized interest in the business’s ability to responsibly navigate the hype, hopes, and fears surrounding generative AI,” the report added.

NextGen vs Current Gen: How are they stacked

The report highlighted the cautious nature of the current generation leaders compared to the NextGen leaders as far as adopting innovation is concerned. A significant 49% of family businesses have either not started exploring AI or have prohibited its deployment, and a mere 7% have implemented it in some of their businesses.

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