Staying ahead: AI takeaways from Hg's Senior Leadership Gathering 2023

1 minute read

By Matthew Brockman

Hg’s Senior Leadership Gathering saw 100 transatlantic CEOs and senior leaders step away from the day job to engage in a rare opportunity to look out beyond the next quarter's numbers. 

We wanted to discuss the core themes impacting our industry - and inevitably there was a core focus on AI, its impact on hyper scaled software providers and how that may impact how we build scaled software companies of the future.
We are delighted to have brought together so many leaders from across our portfolio and beyond to engage with this, to listen to some of the most relevant views on what is happening in technology and workplace automation, from people at the front line. 

A host of round-table discussions were preceded by talks from Guido Appenzeller, advisor to a16z, David Carmona of Microsoft and Lidiane Jones of Slack.

We ended with an audience with Dan Carter, the All Blacks Rugby legend. Listening to the best fly half to play the game talk of his work ethic, humility and team orientation during a period of crushing disappointment before coming back and building a sporting legacy was inspiring and highly relevant to our leaders.

As you might imagine, AI and its potential impacts came up more than once and, amongst many other takeaways, we prepared the following tick-list for all of our leaders to consider upon returning to their day job, revealing a glimpse of this below:

Embrace GenAI, today

GenAI is a broad, enabling technology with the (already proven) potential to transform what we offer and how we operate. It’s sufficiently mature, ready to be deployed. And if we don’t, our competition will. Don’t get caught on the wrong side of history!

Nurture a broader GenAI Culture

Put GenAI into the hands of all employees, safely with the right AI policies in place. Everyone should start experimenting and help shape the operational adoption.

Appoint your CAIO

To ensure this topic has the necessary focus and ownership. But this doesn’t need to be a AI PhD from MIT: AI tooling is relatively accessible, so ensure you have sufficient business and transformation leadership skills.

Horizon scanning

This GenAI field remains very fast moving - e.g. how will open source models develop? With operational implications still emerging – e.g. rise of consumption based pricing? Keep abreast of developments, and retain sufficient flexibility.

Treat this like the broad business
transformation that it is

It requires senior leadership, broad functional engagement, investment, and a rigorous programme drumbeat where to deliver broad and ambitious objectives.

Define your AI Strategy

Identify tactical use cases that deliver quick wins to build momentum, but have these as part of a wider roadmap that build up to bigger, more transformative use cases in outer planning horizons.


Use cases can generate fast impact in areas where accuracy is key (e.g. R&D, support) – this is where we’re seeing most success stories in the Hg portfolio today. Even more leverage can come from content generation where ~90% is good enough (e.g. marketing).

Tap into the Hg ecosystem

Leverage the collective experience and expertise from your ~50 portfolio peers, and tap into Hg’s AI capability (tools, use cases, AI consultants).

These are some great foundations to build on - to check back on as we return in 2024...

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