All CIOs know by now that artificial intelligence (AI) is coming. We’ve seen this new technology develop step-by-step over the past few years. Its capabilities have grown and what it can do has started to become a key part of the importance of information technology. AI has started to take hold in everyday consumer products that people talk to. Now what CIOs need to do is to determine where in their business this new AI technology can best be used.
CIOs Get Ready For The Arrival Of AI
CIOs can take a number of steps to help their companies prepare for the job disruption that artificial intelligence will cause over the next several years. Many of the people with the CIO job believe that AI will wipe out a huge portion of work as we’ve known it. Artificial intelligence can be used to both improve margins and save costs. When it comes to using AI for saving costs, then that usually means you’re doing some tasks that normally a worker does. What this means for the company is that the more successful you are with your AI, you’re potentially replacing jobs – and displacing jobs – and that may cause a reduction in force. However, CIOs need to keep in mind that technological progress has always meant job replacement. CIOs can remember back when computers first came along, the machines replaced typists, telephone operators and other positions. CIOs have always had to prepare their companies for this type of disruption.
Going forward the CIO’s role now will be to advise their chief executives on the AI transition ahead. The challenge that we face is that CEOs usually don’t think in terms of what technology might cause job displacement. The good news is that CIOs can help chief executives work out a road map for what jobs will be replaced and when. Those plans need to be made in a way that is sensitive to employees. That requires thinking about which jobs are inevitably going away, how to tell the employees that their positions are being eliminated and how to retrain them for new careers. As AI is deployed, the CIO needs to work as an adviser across the organization. As artificial intelligence becomes available to replace routine jobs in human resources, legal and accounting, CIOs should always be evaluating the software and helping business units select packages that are best in class.
People in the CIO position need to compare what is happening with AI today to the early days of the internet. At that time, CIOs acted as evangelists, learning about the technology and sharing what they learned with the rest of the organization. Back in the day, the CIO was probably teaching the marketing department, the customer service department, what the internet was and how they should use it. Likewise, today’s CIOs should once again be willing and ready to transition and teach so that as AI becomes pervasive like the internet has, the CIO has done their job in that transition process. We need to understand that a tidal wave of change is coming over the next decade. This will be caused by the myriad ways in which artificial intelligence will help companies and organizations do work more efficiently.
How CIOs Can Deal With The Changes That AI Will Bring
CIOs understand that artificial intelligence is an incredibly exciting technology for enterprises. This is because it can be used in any number of scenarios and departments. The way that it works is that you feed it a lot of data, it’s then able to make smart decisions, predictions and classifications in many areas. This can have an impact on customer service, human resources, IT, finance, sales, etc. The more successful you are with your AI projects, you’re potentially replacing jobs and displacing jobs that may cause reduction in force, so that has to be taken into consideration. CIOs would prefer to look mainly at the way AI increases profit margins rather than focus on job displacement. But, AI is designed to do tasks and things that people currently do. More and more significant portions of the AI tasks will have an impact on replacing human jobs.
AI is made up of many different things. One of the hottest areas lately is something called “Deep Learning”. Deep learning is the primary way in which CIOs can do AI or machine learning. CIOs need to realize that it functions quite differently from our brain. CIOs think, if A, then B, if not C, then D. That is not how AI works. AI works by presenting it a large amount of data, teaching it the correct answer, and then using that data for new cases. AI can be used in marketing or sales in determining what email content and wording to use to attract a greater open-and-read and response rate. In finance, AI can be used to automatically go through the expense reports that are filed, and route them to managers for approval, and then forward them on. The key thing for CIOs to understand is that AI is made up of a lot of different tasks, but they all run on data, and they all run using deep learning as the algorithm.
CIOs need to take action today to help their companies prepare and best harness AI. CIOs responsibilities are similar to the early days of the internet. They want to understand the technology, become someone who could answer questions, and become somewhat of an evangelist. AI means something different to every department in the company. It’s the same underlying AI algorithm being used, but for every department, it’s a different kind of application. The second thing that’s really important for CIOs is to make sure that the company has a very consistent way to manage structured data. Since AI is trained on data, if you don’t have data, none of this will work. This is something that you can’t just hire programmers and get it done, you need to have the programs, and then train it with data. As the CIO, your main job is to maintain the data warehousing for the company, to look at the silos of the data, and try to break down barriers, to turn the data swamps into data lakes, so that they can work together.
What All Of This Means For You
The world in which we are living is in the process of changing and CIOs need to be prepared for this to happen. One of the most significant changes that will be occurring will be the arrival of AI technology. This disruptive technology has the ability to take away jobs and change how things are being done. CIOs need to prepare to introduce AI technology into their companies. Additionally, they have to prepare their companies for the arrival of AI.
Artificial intelligence can be used to both improve margins and save costs. When it does this, it is going to be performing the jobs that are being done by workers today. This means that those workers are going to have to have be prepared to move to different jobs. CIOs have to be willing to work with CEOs in order to prepare them for all of the changes that AI will cause. CIOs have to be willing to act as AI evangelists just like they did back when the internet first showed up. AI technology can be applied to all of the departments in the company. The Deep Learning version of AI allows AI to process data and learn how to do tasks. A key role for CIOs will be to make sure that the data that AI systems will need will be made available to them.
As we move forward, AI will shape the companies that we work for. As CIOs we are going to be in the driver’s seat as this new technology is introduced into the company. We need to understand how disruptive this can be for everyone who works at the company. It will be our job to inform everyone what will be changing and what they need to do to adjust to the new world that has AI in it.
Question For You: What is the best way for a CIO to communicate to the company the changes that AI will cause?
Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Being the person with the CIO job means that we have to wear a lot of different hats. We are in charge of an IT department and this means that it is our responsibility to make sure that the things that need to get done get done – and get done correctly. However, we also have to understand that we have people working for us and those people have feelings. What this means for us is that we need to find ways to be tough to get things done, while at the same time being compassionate so that we don’t drive our people away. Sounds like a tough job!