If you look up “stressful career choice,” the role of CIO would probably be at the top of the list. Not only is there the task of overseeing current day-to-day IT activities, but today’s IT executives are also facing mounting pressures to consistently identify and deploy cutting-edge, game-changing innovations. It’s enough to drive even the strongest of individuals over the brink. Thankfully, there’s one technology that could easily become the secret weapon for sustainable career success. That technology is AI. Here’s how to get started.
Recognize the key difference that AI brings to the table.
The first thing that needs to happen in order for a CIO to take full advantage of what AI can do for them is to take on the right perspective. Specifically, unlike a survey or file-sharing tool, AI isn’t simply a tactical technology. Instead, it’s strategic – particularly in that it’s capable of not only enhancing the current way a business operates, but it’s also capable of paving the way for new revenue streams.
Provided it’s fed an adequate amount of data that is both relevant and of high quality, AI can provide targeted predictions and support complex business decisions that can shape the direction a company moves in.
It’s also important not to fall into the trap of viewing AI as solely a solution for everything that’s going wrong in an organization. Rather, this technology can and should also be used to identify vulnerabilities that may have otherwise gone undetected. AI is capable of sifting through massive amounts of data, prioritizing it and even exposing unknown biases that might have caused issues down the road.
These important disparities are not mere nuances. If leveraged properly, they can become key differentiators, both for the company as well as the CIO’s career.
Start small, win quickly.
With so much pressure weighing on their shoulders, it can be incredibly tempting for an ambitious CIO to attempt AI adoption on a grand scale. Go big or go home, right? Not necessarily – at least not as it relates to being successful with artificial intelligence.
Because the technologies that drive AI are constantly evolving, it’s best to focus primarily on experimenting and learning. This enables a more close alignment with the underlying business needs that are being addressed. It also allows greater control over the scope and results of the AI initiative.
The most effective way to get started with AI is to target opportunities that are the most ripe for optimization. Because these are likely to be smaller initiatives, they are also more likely to quickly produce measurable results.
These initial projects will have the best chance of succeeding if you:
- Experiment on smaller issues with the potential to produce higher ROI
- Start with existing workflow templates rather than building your own model (i.e. resist the urge to “reinvent the wheel”)
- Use data that is of the highest quality and relevant
- Incorporate AI into existing business processes where disruption will be minimal
- Maximize productivity by automating highly repetitive and well-defined decisions
Bottom line is this: quick wins will help build confidence and gain traction for larger initiatives that have greater impact and visibility.
Think like a CEO.
As mentioned, artificial intelligence is a strategic technology. Therefore, to get the most out of it, there must be strategic thinking. The path to widespread permeation of AI is paved with many challenges. Taking more of a CEO-like approach to these initiatives can help CIOs become more proactive in recognizing and addressing evolving priorities, misaligned strategies, and the obstacles that stand in the way of true and effective collaboration.
Furthermore, because the goal will inevitably be to deploy AI across the entire organization, developing a deeper understanding of all business departments (like a CEO would have) is critical. Working with each business segment to identify those smaller issues that represent the highest and fastest return will make enterprise-wide adoption of AI much easier to achieve.
A great way to start is to approach each LOB and pose a simple question, like “If we can do X, then we can accomplish Y.” In other words, for the sales department, this question might look something like, “If we can score leads better, we can make our sales team more efficient.” In customer service, it might be, “If we can automate commonly asked question, we can improve customer response rate and optimize our support staff.”
With this information in hand, the CIO can then determine how AI can be applied as a solution to as many of these scenarios as possible and then begin tackling them one by one, ultimately delivering value across the entire organization.
Accept that the time is now.
The tech industry is notorious for tossing out buzzwords and fly-by-night concepts that gain instant notoriety but then never really seem to go anywhere. AI is not one of these terms or concepts. In fact, it’s become abundantly clear that artificial intelligence will soon become an integral part of global business operations in every field and industry.
Don’t be the last one to jump on the bandwagon. Find out what AI is capable of doing for your organization and your career by starting your free 30-day trial of Ayehu today.