Unlocking Value with Generative AI: Insights from UWEBC Members

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping personal productivity and business processes, offering transformative potential to enterprises. However, this potential comes with a human-centered challenge. Within the UWEBC, members are leading the charge in strategically integrating Generative AI to unlock new value and streamline operations. Led by Doug Barton and Tom Hershberger, our Data & Analytics event on March 12 dove into the innovative strategies employed by UWEBC members, illuminating how they navigate Generative AI to augment both personal and enterprise productivity, offering a gateway to understanding and leveraging this cutting-edge technology effectively.

We first heard from Alyssa Ryanjoy from TruStage, who emphasized Trustage’s dedication to facilitating knowledge exchange and employee collaboration. Alyssa highlighted the importance of inclusivity within the group, welcoming seasoned AI users and newcomers to contribute and learn from one another. She underscored the significance of sharing practical insights and use cases, citing examples such as persona creation and content adaptation, which have showcased the tangible impact of Generative AI in various domains. Alyssa’s opening remarks set the tone for an insightful and productive discussion, reinforcing the community’s commitment to people at the center of technology-driven innovation.

Tamara Walker then outlined UW-Madison’s response to the rapidly evolving landscape of generative AI. As Machine Learning and AI research outpace institutional readiness, inquiries regarding AI policy and integration into teaching methods have surged. Traditional approaches to research, teaching, and learning are being reevaluated to accommodate generative AI, emphasizing accessibility and equity. UW-Madison has made Microsoft Copilot for faculty, staff, and students, leveraging ChatGPT API access as needed. Despite opportunities for innovation, challenges like procurement persist, necessitating strategic planning and collaboration within the academic community.

Lindie Busse and Mark Jolitz showcased Northwestern Mutual’s innovative use of generative AI to enhance client service efficiency in knowledge management. Utilizing the ChatGPT platform, they aim to streamline client interactions and improve service quality. The GenAI tool leverages Northwestern Mutual’s extensive knowledge base to provide quick and accurate responses to field and client inquiries, resulting in shorter handle times, higher first-call resolution rates, and reduced call lengths. User feedback is actively collected through thumbs-up/down polls and short response feedback to refine and continually optimize the tool. 

Lastly, Clint Herrick, Carrie Toth, Dan Yap, David Manske, and David Thornburg presented an insightful overview of Generac’s approach to leveraging AI in their operations. Grounded in guiding principles emphasizing the importance of providing elegant self-service solutions and enhancing the consumer experience, Generac seeks to empower its agents and streamline technical support processes. By harnessing GPT3.5 generative AI, Generac has developed an automated response tool to assist technical support agents in real-time consumer interactions. The key takeaway from their presentation is the recognition of AI’s value in enhancing customer experience design and the importance of embracing technological advancements without fear. They stressed the necessity of robust Business and IT partnerships and effective change management practices to navigate the rapidly evolving technology landscape successfully. 

Generative AI drives innovation across industries, from enhancing collaboration and knowledge exchange surrounding leaps in personal productivity to transforming client service and streamlining operations. As businesses continue to harness the potential of Generative AI, proactive adaptation and strategic implementation will be critical to unlocking its full transformative power.

The full session and the presentations are available here. One of the must-watch leaders on this AI-powered transition is Ethan Mollick, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Follow his writing and research, and be sure to follow our own UW-Madison Data Science Institute as well.