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Surging AI Adoption Puts UK Councils in a Bind as Only 24% Have Usage Policies in Place

39% allow employees to use AI without having a policy

LONDON –28 February, 2024 – WalkMe Ltd. (NASDAQ: WKME), a leading provider of digital adoption solutions, today released research showing that the rapid advance of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) is outpacing organisations’ ability to develop usage policies that allow for safe, effective use of the technology. A series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to UK councils showed that only 24% have usage policies in place for AI in the workplace. While 19% are in the process of developing policies, 39% currently allow employees to use the technology without having any policy.

“It’s easy to understand organisations and individuals getting swept up in AI hype, and wanting to make maximum use of the technology,” said Ofir Hatsor, SVP EMEA at WalkMe. “A failure to take advantage could mean councils struggle to meet citizens’ expectations. However, without policies in place, councils cannot understand how their employees are using AI, let alone control it. This lack of understanding means that employees could be opening themselves, citizens, and the council itself up to unintended consequences: from embarrassment to putting sensitive data at risk.”

Other key findings from the FOI are:

• Still time to act: Only one council has had to take action against an employee for breaching its AI use policy. Similarly, only one council has had a potential security incident caused by AI use – in this case, a data leak. This suggests that there is still an opportunity to implement best practices and controls.

• Learning from experience: The council that suffered a data leakage has made a thorough investigation into AI use and policy development. This example serves as a reminder for organisations to regularly review and update AI policies for continuous improvement and risk mitigation.

• Effective action needs investment: Only three councils said they had a specific budget for implementing GAI tools and training employees in their use – for a total of £182,000. Whether part of a specific budget or wider IT and training budgets, organisations need to ensure they make the right investments so employees can utilise technology effectively and safely.

“It’s not too late for organisations to act,” continued Hatsor. “Usage policies should accept employees will want to use GAI; offer guidelines on safe and effective use, and demonstrate the consequences if these aren’t followed. This will go a long way towards educating and empowering workers. Beyond policies, councils and businesses should have the funding to invest in approaches that will help deal with the rapid rise of GAI or any other technology. Discovering application use to prevent the rise of ‘shadow AI’, understanding where employees struggle to use technology effectively or safely, and giving the appropriate guidance will all help organisations balance innovation with safety.”

* Freedom of Information request made to 171 county, district, city, and metropolitan borough councils across the UK

About WalkMe
WalkMe (WKME) pioneered the world’s leading Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) so companies can effectively navigate the constant change brought on by technology. With WalkMe, organizations drive enterprise productivity and reduce risk by ensuring consistent, responsible, and efficient adoption of software and the workflows it powers. Our AI-driven platform sits on top of an organization’s tech stack, identifies where people experience friction, and delivers the personalized guidance and automation needed to get the job done, right in the flow of work. Customers like IBM, Nestle, ThermoFisher Scientific, and the U.S. Dept. of Defense trust WalkMe to create the people-centric experiences required to boost the effectiveness of their workflows and maximize software ROI.