You don’t have to look further than recent headlines to know generative AI has garnered outsized attention in 2023. And for good reason. GenAI has been estimated to increase skilled worker performance by up to 40% with the potential to add trillions of dollars in value to the global economy. This is because GenAI brings accessibility to tasks that once required specialized skillsets—like coding or graphics—to more workers than ever thought possible. As a result, knowledge workers can create content, low- and no-code solutions are more accessible, and team members from every layer of the organization have broader options for getting work done.
IT organizations have responded in kind, with 52% already building or deploying GenAI solutions according to Dell research.1 While this is an essential role IT must play as a key driver of GenAI within an organization, there is another part that is no less important: ensuring users know how to use GenAI tools once they are built and readily available.
The case for GenAI education as part of IT’s remit
At first blush, training and educating users on how to use generative AI may seem outside the typical scope of IT, but GenAI is not a typical tech transformation. It is unique because it is both massively technology-driven and can affect every type of job in an organization. Some have compared it to how the internet fundamentally changed the workplace. Bill Gates has even suggested it will have an equivalent impact as the birth of the modern operating system.
For these reasons, IT cannot discount this transformation as a rank-and-file change management exercise. By educating users, companies can accelerate adoption, which increases the potential to unlock innovation across teams and business units. And they can also help users embrace and understand technologies which they may initially fear and distrust. Both these tasks can deeply benefit from IT. After all, IT is the brain of the company, with the technical chops to understand the technologies and help users be successful. Who better to train the workforce of the future than practitioners fluent in GenAI—both in how to build it and how to use it?
How can IT organizations play an active part in educating users? The answer will vary for every department and will depend on things like organizational size, number of users, what use cases are being supported, and other factors. But at its core, the goal is ensuring that users understand what GenAI is and are willing to embrace its transformative potential. The solutions could range from demystifying deeply technical concepts, to providing hands-on training, to making learning resources and libraries available, to enlisting power users as internal champions.
While these activities don’t necessarily have to be driven by IT, it’s better if they are. This is a highly technical transformation, and companies that can rapidly get team members comfortable with GenAI will have a competitive edge. To that end, here are a number of ways IT can train, educate, and share GenAI knowledge.
- Increase AI literacy—and reduce fear
A significant barrier to GenAI adoption stems from confusion about what it is and what it means for employee roles. The reality is that no number of “What is generative AI?” presentations from consultants will help them extrapolate what it means for their day-to-day roles. If you lead an IT organization bringing generative AI solutions to internal team members, you’re in a unique position to connect the dots for them. You have the privilege of handing them a transformative technology and a once-in-a-career opportunity to show them what it actually means. This is because everyone in your organization—from frontline employees to the C-suite—needs to understand how to use GenAI to enhance their work, how it might impact their jobs, and how to interact effectively with AI systems. No one inside an organization is better suited for this work than IT.
2. Invest the time to go hands-on with users
Imagine that the generative AI app or technology you’ve rolled out to users is a sports car. Launching the app is like putting the sports car in the garage with the keys in the ignition. Hands-on labs and training are the equivalent of inviting them to slide into the driver’s seat and showing them how to turn the key. It’s a magic lightbulb moment. Users can feel the revving of the engine and understand what they can do with the technology now in their hands.
IT doesn’t have to be the ones to help users turn the key, but there are several reasons why they should. As the team that developed or delivered the technology, they can best speak to how to effectively use it. They may have the best troubleshooting resources and can speak authoritatively to responsible use. And they can bring back meaningful data from user interactions to make AI applications better.
3. Realize some of your best internal resources may come from users themselves
We’re still in the early innings of generative AI, which means all of us are still learning what works best in terms of getting the best outputs from GenAI tools. To that end, keep in mind that the best learning resources might not come from a book or official publication, but from the users around you. Make two-way communication a critical part of your GenAI program. This includes crowdsourcing tips and tricks from users on how to get the most from tools and what’s working for them. Create libraries that collect the best prompts across teams and curate them in a central location so everyone can contribute and learn from best practices. Make generative AI success a team sport within your organization—something to be embraced and celebrated.
4. Lean on internal champions
Inside most organizations, there will be natural ambassadors who want to jump aboard technology shifts of this scope and bring their teammates along with them. Include these internal champions as much as possible as part of your work. Train them to share and disseminate information as part of a “train the trainers” initiative. Ensure they are always up to date with the latest information so they can be a resource within their own networks. And encourage team members to seek them out as a source of inspiration and positive reinforcement.
How IT can get started
In the age of GenAI, IT has an invitation: step beyond managing infrastructure and serve as educators, helping to demystify technology and empower users to harness its full potential. And the upsides are plentiful: 76% of IT leaders believe GenAI will be significant if not transformative for their organizations, and 65% believe they will see meaningful results within the next year according to a recent Dell survey.2
No matter where you are in your GenAI journey, the steps above can help. And if you need more guidance, enlisting the support of partners can get you there faster. At Dell, we work with organizations every day to help them identify use cases, put solutions in place, increase adoption, and even train internal users to speed up innovation.
To learn more, visit dell.com/ai.