Generative AI Growing in Business

Two in Five Organizations Claim ROI on Gen AI Within 6 Months

ETR Research 

| February 02, 2024

ETR recently conducted its latest survey on generative AI and large language models (LLMs), focusing on budget plans, evaluation and production rates, anticipated ROI, and generative AI vendors. The survey received responses from nearly 900 IT decision makers, including representatives from nearly a quarter of Global 2000 organizations. While this summary provides some key insights, the complete survey results are available on the ETR platform, along with a full findings report. If you don't have access to ETR, reach out to our service team at or get started with a free trial.  

In this study, ETR polled nearly 900 IT decision makers about their budgets and priorities for generative AI, with almost a quarter of respondents representing Global 2000 organizations. Large and North American enterprises were the most common size and regional subsamples, and the IT/TelCo, Services/Consulting, and Financials/Insurance industries collectively represented 54% of respondents. Less than a quarter of respondents say their organization is NOT evaluating generative AI / LLMs, a number that has consistently fallen each survey period. Customer support, text and data summarization, and code generation and documentation are the most common business use cases for which organizations are evaluating generative AI / LLMs. Writing copy has risen considerably as a use case, whereas image editing remains stagnant.

Evaluation rates for each use case have risen since six months ago for every business use case identified in the survey. However, about a third of organizations have yet to move from evaluation to production with generative AI / LLMs. Production rates are rising similarly across most business use cases, with customer support the most common, followed by code generation and documentation. Production rates lag evaluation rates by around 10+ percentage points in each business use case. Continuing evaluation is the top reason why more organizations have not moved to production with generative AI / LLMs. However, around a third of respondents also cited data privacy or security concerns and legal, compliance, or regulatory concerns as reasons for not having moved into production.

More than a quarter of respondents remain unsure when they will see a return on investment (ROI) with their generative AI projects, which may signal a lack of clarity around metrics or business use cases for the technology. Nearly a quarter of those who could estimate an ROI timeline said between 4 to 6 months after initial deployment, and 15% said sooner. An equal 15% expects more than a year's duration before ROI is realized.

In this survey period, nearly 50% of respondents said generative AI investments were newly added to the budget, while 40% said generative AI dollars were reallocated from elsewhere. Of those who said generative AI funds were reallocated from elsewhere, business applications were the most common source, followed by non-IT departments and productivity applications. Only 7% said their organization's gen AI budget was sourced from existing RPA allocation.

That's enough free data for one article, but please see the complete survey and report for much more detail, as well as additional topics covering the great build versus buy debate, the preference (or not) of existing vendors embedding gen AI into their core offerings, data architectural needs and priorities to support gen AI production, and much more. The full survey and report are on the ETR research platform right now. Don't have access? That's okay. You can get started today with a free trial.  

Enterprise Technology Research (ETR) is a technology market research firm that leverages proprietary data from our targeted IT decision maker (ITDM) community to provide actionable insights about spending intentions and industry trends. Since 2010, we have worked diligently at achieving one goal: eliminating the need for opinions in enterprise research, which are often formed from incomplete, biased, and statistically insignificant data. Our community of ITDMs represents $1+ trillion in annual IT spend and is positioned to provide best-in-class customer/evaluator perspectives. ETR’s proprietary data and insights from this community empower institutional investors, technology companies, and ITDMs to navigate the complex enterprise technology landscape amid an expanding marketplace. Discover what ETR can do for you at