The Next Phase of AI: Preview for 2024

The Next Phase of AI: Preview for 2024

Last year, companies made substantial investments in artificial intelligence (AI), with the AI market projected to reach $407 billion by 2027. From compliance and reporting to customer service, contract management, safety monitoring, and performing other functions, AI can support numerous facets and departments within a business. It can help streamline operations, improve productivity, reduce labor costs, and enhance efficiency — and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

As business leaders chart their paths and goals for 2024, AI continues to evolve — and so, too, should businesses. It is critical to consider how AI impacts business strategy, understand its implications, and adapt as the market continues to innovate.

Here are key AI trends and considerations we expect to emerge in the next 12 months and how companies can prepare. 

Trend #1: 2024 is the year of AI activation.

In 2023, many businesses were focused on building a strong foundational education around AI, exploring potential use cases, and its possible impact on their organization, employees, and stakeholders. Generative AI particularly piqued public attention and interest.

Now that many middle-market companies have completed the initial phase of AI adoption and training, they will work to implement and identify new use cases for AI to improve their business. This trend will be evident across individual roles, functions, and industries, from retail and healthcare to higher education, gaming and leisure, and beyond. 

Reviewing historical customer interaction data and integrating its outputs with AI is one method many will likely explore. For example, a call center won’t just use AI to analyze data; it will use AI to drive answers for the call center. Implementing use cases can be a proof of concept where a business quantifies the ROI.

While we expect companies to focus on AI implementation in the next 12 months, it is critical to conduct education efforts on an ongoing basis as AI continues to evolve. To prepare, businesses should evaluate their internal education programs and develop a timeline for each initiative. BDO Digital’s Change Management AI Toolkit encompasses an array of AI education tools, including a change management plan, a communications strategy, a new user training session guide, and guidance on best practices.


Trend #2: Increased AI adoption will unearth cracks in the data foundation.

Insights are only as good as the underlying data on which they are based. Because a significant portion of enterprise data is either trivial, irrelevant, or holds no business value, extracting meaningful data is paramount.

As more companies immerse themselves in AI integration, many may identify jarring data gaps, necessitating businesses to rebuild their data foundation. If a company’s data isn’t clean or available in the right format — for instance, if there are inconsistent naming conventions or duplicative or incomplete data — it cannot effectively adopt AI because it will not have the right inputs to run an AI system. 

Past calls for sound data governance, security, and privacy may not have been taken as seriously as they should have, meaning business leaders will need to monitor their data closely and rebuild. Every new digital initiative is an opportunity to incrementally improve data management and edge closer to a single source. While repairing a data foundation takes time, it can increase the value a company can extract from its data and allow businesses to progress on their path to AI maturity.

Trend #3: As AI advances, so will ethical considerations and safeguards.

Ethics have been top of mind in the widespread implementation of AI, with specific concerns surrounding social governance and bias. As generative AI, in particular, continues to expand its data pool and advance its language learning models, potential risks of bias are expected to multiply in the next 12 months. 

While generative AI’s impact holds great promise, it will require sound data governance to make sure the outcomes of the AI system are validated and ethical, predicating the need for ongoing auditing measures.

Following the rollout of company-wide generative AI training, we expect that more guardrails will be put in place in 2024 to help ensure the responsible use of generative AI. To effectively safeguard AI use, companies should proactively monitor and anticipate forthcoming AI regulations, specifically surrounding the ethical and responsible use of AI. They should also conduct regular bias training, routine data testing, and a regular review cadence as models are updated and inputs change. 

Trend #4: AI will help labor shortages but increase talent competition.

Last year saw the initial impact of AI on the labor market, with demand for new and emerging roles in IT and beyond. The majority of business leaders — 82% — reported that their employees "will need new skills to be prepared for the growth of AI.” As more businesses rely on AI to perform a variety of job functions and roles, we expect the demand for AI in the workplace to soar in the next 12 months — a shift with a double-edged sword.

On one hand, AI will continue to bridge various gaps in business operations. Companies can use AI to improve team productivity, streamline and expedite administrative tasks, and address operational inefficiencies. On the other hand, AI can potentially widen gaps in businesses, specifically those with talent shortages, as organizations may become more discerning about prospective hires. BDO Digital predicts this discernment will manifest as companies actively recruiting talent with AI-specific knowledge and skills like prompt engineering and generative AI model training and development. 

As businesses chart their path forward, it would be prudent for leaders to prioritize AI training as part of their change management strategy — a critical prerequisite of effective AI adoption. By prioritizing AI skillsets, businesses can gain a competitive advantage in a tighter labor market.

Trend #5: The worlds of AI and cybersecurity will converge in new ways.

AI is accelerating in tandem with the innovation of the cybersecurity landscape. This convergence has created both opportunities and challenges. AI provides businesses with advanced tools to navigate the cybersecurity landscape — but as AI and other cybersecurity technologies evolve, so too do cyber threats, with breaches growing in sophistication and complexity. Both cyber-defenders and threat actors have adapted, challenging classic threat indicators, and increasing the vulnerability of organizations.

While we predict that cyber incidents will continually grow in complexity as AI accelerates in the next 12 months and beyond, companies also have a ripe opportunity to strengthen their cybersecurity posture — and can leverage AI to do so. 

AI can improve incident response and monitoring, generate comprehensive predictive analytics, and perform real-time threat detection, aiding employee-led cybersecurity teams and advancing a company’s cyber maturity — a necessity in a world where technology grows ever more sophisticated.


BDO Digital delivers AI guidance, insights, and strategies designed to help your organization create new revenue streams, reduce operating costs, tailor customer experiences, improve business processes, and more.

Contact BDO Digital to learn more about how to effectively and responsibly implement AI to help transform your organization.