Dave Henderson

Dave Henderson

President, Intelligent Solutions and Innovation

How to scale AI’s impact and accelerate outcomes

Cutting through the noise around AI: Where do we really stand?  

My conversations with industry executives about AI largely fall into two camps—those who see AI as uniquely transformative, and those who view it as a powerful and disruptive tool, but at the core still a technology that will follow the same patterns they’ve seen before.  

Regardless of my own opinion (I’m in the “transformative” camp), I’m still continuously surprised by how omnipresent it is. In fact, at a recent brunch with my wife’s mother and her 104 year-young friend (Hi Shirlee and Garnet!), they turned to me and asked, “So, what’s going to happen with AI?” 

AI feels consumerized in a way we’ve not seen since the creation of the Internet. It is a part of conversations in every corner of our lives that feels different from everything I’ve seen in my four-decade career, as the topic evokes both excitement and fear about the impact it could (will) have in our lives. 

While we might not all agree where we are in the hype cycle, or the level to which AI will transform and disrupt our world, what is universally felt by leaders is the pressure to act from all sides—top-down, bottom-up, from shareholders, boards, customers, and employees. 

Many leaders feel the demand to just start somewhere, such as with executing proofs of concept (POCs). Experts in CGI’s own AI Enablement Center of Expertise recently observed that industry executives emerged from the generative AI (GenAI) hype cycle feeling overwhelmed by POCs. They also observed that many emerging technology-centric engagements stalled at the POC and pilot stages, stymied by challenges around data, change management, and uncertain or slow ROI. (Read more about our experts’ GenAI insights shared with TBR.)

What should leaders do now? Four imperatives for action

It is vital to understand that although GenAI is relatively new, AI has a history that goes far beyond GenAI. While this current AI wave is transformative in a different way to the past, the adoption of new technologies has long required a common set of imperatives for action to move beyond hype to tangible value. These actions are even more essential in the wider context of our rapidly changing world, not only with GenAI, but also with parallel advancements in many other fields.  

Leaders need to iteratively set their vision, evaluate ROI-led use cases, build future-fit and adaptive foundations, and scale and operate a multi-model AI ecosystem. It is not a linear process; different parts of your business might be at different stages. Additionally, as ecosystems continue to evolve and AI continues to advance, it is critical to have a framework and approach that ensures speed in delivering business value and outcomes. 

Based on 30+ years of experience delivering responsible AI solutions that create lasting value, mitigate risks, and are human-centric, we see the following four imperatives for AI action. 

CGI’s four imperatives for trusted action and outcomes

Four AI imperatives diagram

Following are examples of how each imperative is being carried out by our clients: 

the number 1 circled

“Envision” case in point: Setting the AI vision

With CGI’s support, a North American railway developed an Ethical AI Framework and implementation strategy for running the five foundations of Precision Scheduled Railroading. Our AI consultants provided best practices around AI design, implementation, governance and operationalization. This included defining an Enterprise AI Center of Excellence, AI implementation framework, multi-cloud architecture for AI enablement, Responsible AI (RAI) Framework, and AI Risk Matrix and framework. 

Outcomes: Defined models for AI implementation, along with ROI-led use cases, will accelerate the railway’s AI journey to trusted outcomes.

number 2 in a circle

“Explore” case in point: Evaluating ROI-led use cases

At a national mortgage association, we conducted discovery sessions across the organization’s 11 business units to identify 50 potential use cases with the most promise for transformative impact and strategic value. CGI conducted a detailed evaluation of processes to identify and prioritize actionable GenAI use cases aligned to each business unit’s objectives and technological capabilities. 

Outcomes: The client now has a forward-looking analysis of the potential impacts and benefits the proposed initiatives will deliver, tailored to current and future goals. The projection includes tangible improvements in operational efficiency, revenue generation, risk management, and overall organizational agility and resilience in the face of evolving market, regulatory, and technological landscapes.

number 3 in a circle

“Engineer” case in point: Building future-fit and adaptive foundations

The ExoMars Rover mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) will be Europe’s first surface mission to Mars. We’ve built technology to help scientists understand Mars remotely at an unprecedented level of detail through the eyes of a remote Martian rover using our on-board and off-board autonomy and AI systems. We are providing the VisLoc (vision-based localization) system, which is a critical part of the autonomous navigation solution. Our team will also design, develop and verify the Mission Management Software Instruments Layer (MMS-IL), an AI software component that will support the second objective of the mission—to move autonomously across the surface, providing localization and visualization capabilities.

Expected outcomes: Enabling the rover to traverse greater distances than could be previously achieved without this level of intelligence. Validation and verification processes will ensure safety, reliability and robustness in an environment where physical maintenance is impossible, and uncertainty is high. 

number 4 in a circle

“Expand” case in point: Accelerating value and operating responsibly 

A global communications provider accelerated their transformative AI capabilities by establishing a dynamic project management office (PMO) to optimize return on investment in GenAI initiatives. Our team designed and used a 10-day assessment process with a fail-fast methodology to enable quick project selections, implemented project management and tracking throughout, and performed due diligence on ROI achieved compared to initial expectations. We also provided certified product owners, product managers and Scrum masters for this agile project.

Outcomes: The client achieved 57% ROI in the first year due to cost savings from selected projects (US$300M investment generated a US$470M return). These savings continued year-over-year and enable the client to select initiatives quickly and effectively, while considering critical factors like true cost, accurate expected return, responsible AI, and foundational data quality.

How to generate lasting outcomes and value

When it comes to generating outcomes and value, we have seen the most success when pilots and POCs are tied to an overall AI strategy and roadmap with clear objectives and metrics for value delivered. 

If proven, pilots should already have the foundation for the business case to scale. It’s important to demonstrate that a use case has concrete business context and will have a definable improvement outcome with a clear and quantifiable ROI. Without such a foundation—along with industry, company and process-specific knowledge—we have seen cases where GenAI can deliver some short-term value in pilots, but ultimately result in greater costs and disruptions compared to other AI models and approaches.

Additionally, to generate real value at scale, organizations also need a multi-model AI ecosystem beyond just GenAI, guided by responsible use governance with humans-in-the-loop. 

Where do we go from here? 

Remember the old line about “the network is the computer”? I believe AI intelligence will be the computer of the future, and as such will supercharge human creativity, innovation and productivity across every industry. 

With AI, building a trusted and secure partner ecosystem is essential as we and our clients navigate the pace of change, for which there will be no magic, one-size-fits-all solution. The good news is that we have great people and momentum working together every day to harness the power of AI responsibly, focused on business outcomes, and always with humans at the core of it all.

To learn more about our AI offerings and insights, please visit our AI homepage



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About this author

Dave Henderson

Dave Henderson

President, Intelligent Solutions and Innovation

Dave Henderson serves as President of Intelligent Solutions and Innovation at CGI, working to advance technology innovation across all geographies and industries. This includes expanding the company’s portfolio of IP solutions that leverages this innovation, including built-in security and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. In this ...