Walter Gruener: Don’t spill the beans, go big!

The adoption of AI will continue, says Walter Gruener, CIO/CDO of Covestro. It remains rapid, it is becoming fundamental. Nevertheless, it is also important to manage the high expectations of AI: it will not be able to deliver much of what many are hoping for (for some time yet), so hype characteristics are also a current fact.

(Picture: Walter Gruener)

This makes it all the more important to discuss when we meet in May next year. Where is it actually promising to invest? Where might we need to revise or adapt our own plans? What can I learn and take away from the CIOmove participants who have perhaps tried out different things to me?

(By the way: the AI Dome at the university in Rabat, where we will be stopping at the CIOmove, will be an excellent place for this).

We have a lot to discuss, says Walter. But at the same time, time is pressing. At Covestro, we have set ourselves the ambition to have a large proportion of all user interactions in the company handled by AI within the next few years – which includes more and more autonomy for AI. “That’s different to the introduction of other technologies like S/4 HANA, where you can allow yourself years to decide before you start to implement.”

And there is still a lot to do, even though the entire infrastructure is already running in the cloud on AWS, even though much of the confidential to secret data is already processed in a secure environment. “We still need the architecture that can be based on the LLMs of the major providers, we need the use cases and we need change management to anchor all these changes in the company,” says Walter, describing the tasks ahead of him.

Just one year after the earthquake triggered by OpenAI with ChatGPT, he can already build on an astonishingly large market. Major providers such as AWS and Microsoft already offer a wide range of tools, services and use cases that can be quickly adapted and integrated into company processes. This market will continue to evolve at a very rapid pace.

And yet: the adoption of AI will have a profound impact on business processes – at a time when the chemical industry is going through its biggest crisis in a long time due to the current energy and supply chain problems. This requires the IT organization to work shoulder to shoulder with company managers to ensure that change management is done well in the business, which must fundamentally question its previous working methods and change processes just as fundamentally.

“This fundamental thinking and fundamental change, that is our topic in the Adoption of AI,” concludes Walter Gruener.