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  • Writer's pictureDario Priolo

Why Private Equity Firms Should Hold AI Workshops with Portfolio Companies This Summer

For private equity firms, the summer months present an ideal opportunity to gather portfolio company leaders for workshops on artificial intelligence (AI). With the year halfway over and 2025 planning on the horizon, now is the perfect time to level-set everyone's understanding of AI and explore new possibilities to drive value creation. Here's why PE firms should prioritize AI workshops this summer:

1. Align on the AI opportunity

AI is rapidly reshaping industries and business models. By 2025, AI software revenue is projected to reach $134.8 billion, with 55% of organizations achieving stable AI maturity.[3] PE firms need to ensure their portfolio is positioned to harness this disruptive force. Workshops allow leadership teams to build a shared understanding of AI trends, discuss relevant use cases, and align on the size of the prize for their companies. Participants can dive into questions like:

  • How is AI transforming our industry? What new business models are emerging?

  • Which parts of our value chain are most ripe for AI enablement?  

  • What AI applications could have the greatest impact on our top and bottom lines?

2. Assess AI readiness and gaps

To realize value from AI, portfolio companies need the right data, talent and technology foundations in place. Workshops provide a forum to honestly assess each company's current AI maturity and identify gaps that need to be closed. Through guided discussions and frameworks, leadership teams can pressure test their:

  • Data quality, governance and architecture 

  • Analytics and data science capabilities

  • Technology stack and infrastructure

  • Organizational skills and culture

Surfacing these gaps in a workshop setting fosters alignment on priorities and resource allocation to get AI-ready.

3. Demystify AI and build confidence

For many executives, AI still feels like uncharted territory rife with both promise and peril. Workshops led by experts can demystify core AI concepts, break down complex topics, and empower leaders to ask the right questions.[18] CIOs can walk through real-world examples of machine learning in action. Data scientists can explain key techniques like deep learning in plain English. Through hands-on exercises, leaders can experience AI tools firsthand and build the confidence to champion them in their organizations.

4. Tap into the power of the portfolio

PE firms can use workshops to harness the collective intelligence of their portfolio. By convening multiple leadership teams in one place, they create opportunities for:

  • Cross-pollination of ideas and best practices

  • Identification of similarities in data sets and use cases across companies 

  • Collaboration on proofs-of-concept and minimum viable products

  • Negotiation of enterprise contracts with AI vendors

Portfolio-wide workshops break down silos, spur creative problem-solving, and help companies learn from each other's successes and failures.

5. Inform strategic plans and budgets 

Armed with a solid baseline understanding, portfolio company leaders can incorporate AI into their 2025 strategic plans with greater conviction. Workshops in the summer give leadership teams ample runway to:

  • Define a bold ambition and roadmap for embedding AI in their business

  • Identify the capabilities and investments needed to bring their vision to life

  • Earmark funds in their 2025 budgets for data, technology and talent

  • Set concrete KPIs and milestones to measure progress over time

By fall, portfolio companies can hit the ground running with clear plans, funding and accountability for making AI a reality.

The AI race is on, and PE firms that move quickly to activate their portfolios will be rewarded. Summertime workshops are the perfect way to get leadership teams dreaming big and planning pragmatically to capture the AI opportunity. So as the days grow longer, PE firms should gather their portfolio companies and dedicate time to demystifying AI, assessing readiness, and charting an ambitious course for value creation. By getting everyone on the same page now, PE firms can ensure their portfolios are primed to unleash the transformative power of AI in 2025 and beyond.

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