Gartner: A Third of CFOs Involved in Developing Enterprise GenAI Strategy

CFOs are among some of the C-suite executives most involved in developing enterprise generative AI (GenAI) strategies at their organizations, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc.

In a Gartner survey of 822 functional leaders in November 2023, 34% of respondents identified CFOs as being involved in developing GenAI strategy for their enterprise. Fifty-five percent of respondents listed the chief technology officer (CTO) as involved in developing GenAI strategy for the enterprise, followed by the chief information officer (CIO) at 48%, and then the CEO at 45% (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: CFOs’ involvement in Developing Enterprise GenAI Strategy

“The large majority of CFOs continue to be displeased with the performance of digital investments across their organization,” said Alexander Bant, chief of research in the Gartner Finance practice. “GenAI spend is expected to be five to eight times higher than last year at most organizations, and many CFOs are playing the role of copilot to ensure these investments drive measurable benefits and profitable growth without unduly increasing risk.”

“CFOs know that GenAI strategies must be cross-functional. They are leaning in with their CIOs, CISOs, and CDAOs. But many are going further than just partnership, and instead playing a leadership role in crafting a GenAI strategy that aligns with and enhances the business and financial strategy for the board, investors, and regulators.” said Bant. “They must foster discussions that are going to ensure cost-effective and responsible deployment of GenAI.”

To help CFOs navigate this trend, Gartner experts have identified three likely stages of GenAI deployment in enterprises: Defend, Extend and Upend.


The defend stage is where organizations must pick the low hanging fruit offered by GenAI and develop proper governance and employee understanding on responsible use of the technology.

This should involve implementing tools with low barriers to adoption and finding quick wins with specific tasks. For example, providing employee access to productivity assistants, such as Microsoft Copilot and Google Workspace, so GenAI can be applied to relevant workstreams in a sanctioned and controlled way.

“Even though these kinds of tools may seem quite revolutionary, the low barrier to adopting them means they will quickly become table stakes for doing business,” said Bant. “They will not give an organization a sustainable competitive advantage.”


The extend phase will cost more but will also have greater potential returns. This is where an organization would invest in more customized applications of GenAI technology, tailored to its unique circumstances of value proposition.

For example, GenAI could possibly augment the capabilities of financial advisors in wealth management. This has the potential to extend a service currently only within reach of the wealthiest individuals, providing it to a mass market audience.


The final scenario is one where GenAI upends an organization and disrupts its entire industry.

“This is the game-changing stuff that can get very expensive, very fast,” Bant told attendees. “But it also comes with much higher potential rewards.”

This is likely to involve shifts in employee productivity or business efficiency so profound that they lead to new products, services, and markets alongside new competitors in a similar way that tech giants have disrupted adjacent markets in recent years.

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