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Workiva ESG Software Platform Gains Generative AI Integrations

August 1, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Workiva's software platform now features Generative AI (artificial intelligence) integration capabilities with third-party platforms such as Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Workiva committed to maintaining an "open ecosystem" approach to Generative AI, while also maintaining a "responsible" use of AI.

David Haila, CTO, Workiva

Workiva's SaaS-based software is a reporting platform that supports financial reporting; ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance); and Governance, Risk and Compliance (CGC) capabilities in one system.

Through Generative AI integrations, customers gain the ability to "author, edit, and rewrite content across the company’s entire suite of solutions, ultimately shifting users from being content producers to content editors, helping to streamline workflows, and freeing up time to focus on greater value-add tasks. Additionally, users will have access to a digital thought partner and a productivity enhancer that can answer free-form questions anytime during their workflow," Workiva asserted.

Still, AI is a double-edged sword for the ESG market. Proponents say AI can potentially help to fight greenwashing while also improving energy management systems, circular economy initiatives and more. On the downside, training Generative AI models requires significant energy and triggers heightened carbon emissions. For instance, the training of GPT-3, which forms the basis for ChatGPT, is estimated to have consumed 1,287 MWh of energy and resulted in over 550 tonnes of carbon emissions, Capgemini states. This is around ten times higher than the emissions generated by an average car over its lifetime, the global IT consulting firm asserts.

How Generative AI May Help Workiva Customers

Nevertheless, Workiva believes Generative AI offers significant upside for customers. According to EVP and CTO David Haila: "Off-the-shelf foundational Generative AI models become increasingly more important and can produce targeted responses when extended with Workiva’s domain knowledge and proprietary data. This is our point of differentiation. We believe we are leading a new wave of innovation in which transformative business value will be achieved through a combination of human expertise, contextual data, and the responsible use of Generative AI technology."

Julie Iskow, CEO, Workiva

Dig a little deeper, and Workiva also emphasizes the responsible use of AI, while also maintaining customer choice. The company states:

  • "Workiva’s commitment to the responsible use of AI ensures human judgment, ethical considerations, data privacy, and transparency always guide the adoption of AI-generated content."
  • "The company’s open ecosystem approach will let customers decide which industry-leading large language model, including those from Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, best fit their needs." The company did not mention if or when integrations with Amazon Web Services Generative AI are planned.
  • "Additionally, Workiva users will never have to move their data from the Workiva platform to leverage AI. And, neither Workiva nor its technology partners will store or use customer data to train models."

CEO Julie Iskow: Generative AI Perspectives On the Way?

Workiva's next quarterly earnings call is scheduled for August 3, 2023. We'll be listening to learn if CEO Julie Iskow shares more Generative AI thoughts during the earnings call.

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