CIOs Move Slowly To Implement Artificial Intelligence

CIOs are moving slowly to implement artificial intelligence at their firms
CIOs are moving slowly to implement artificial intelligence at their firms
Image Credit: Istvan

I think that we can all agree that artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful IT tool that can allow companies to use the importance of information technology to get their IT systems to do more. CIOs have been studying the technology and attempting to understand how it can be applied to their firms. The implementation of AI at firms has been progressing fairly slowly at smaller firms simply because the complexity of implementing it is still out of their reach. Due to the importance of what AI can do for a company, CIOs need to find ways that AI can be used to help the firm move forward.

The Challenge Of Implementing Artificial Intelligence

CIOs who decide that they want to implement AI at their firms immediately run into a number of significant challenges. The first is the high upfront costs that are associated with implementing an AI project. AI is a complex technology and CIOs will discover that they are going to struggle to find the qualified people who can implement the technology. Additionally, all CIOs have other things that require their funding and so AI is just one more thing that they need to be considering. However, the good news is that the large technology firms and startups have realized that this is an issue and they are coming up with new tools that will allow CIOs at smaller firms to implement AI without having to go out and hire an army of data scientists.

CIOs need to take a careful look at everything that they currently have on their plate. What they need to realize is that even if they had a modern set of tools to deal with AI, it will take them time to implement a new technology like AI into their existing business processes. What CIOs can gain from implementing a new AI system is improved operational efficiency for their firm. However, they need to realize that even a benefit like this may be a low priority for their company. Even though the company may understand the benefits that they could gain from implementing AI, it may feel that it does not have either the time or the money to put it together.

The biggest challenge presented by AI to a CIO is how complex it is to implement. Not only does the AI technology have to be implemented, but then it would have to tailored to the firm’s unique needs. Lots of CIOs who want to implement an AI system end up building them from ground up. However, once they have done that they then run into the problem that they don’t have the breadth of data that they are going to need in order to both train and test their new AI system before they deploy it in production. CIOs need to understand that deploying an AI system is much more complicated than their AI vendors would lead them to understand.

How To Implement Artificial Intelligence

The challenge that the person in the CIO position is dealing with is that their IT department is trying to deal a lot of issues while they are seriously understaffed. They have more pressing issues that they are responsible for such as securing the company’s network, updating aging hardware, and dealing with an increasing number of support requests that are coming in from end users. Right now, only 21% of small businesses are reporting that they are currently using AI tools. This stands in contrast to 63% of firms with 5,000 or more users who are reporting that they are currently using AI tools.

This gap is starting to get the interest of some of the largest players in the tech space. Microsoft and Google are both see this gap as an opportunity for them to create both products and services that would be accessible to the person with the CIO job. As an example of what these firms can provide, Microsoft is already offering a set of AI models that have already been programmed with data. What this means for smaller firms is that they would not have to train the tool using their limited data. Instead, they can use these models to create customized AI-based applications that have the ability to incorporate both image and speech recognition. To create these applications, the firms won’t need much technical expertise. This should make it easier for smaller firms to start to use AI tools.

CIOs need to understand that when it comes to AI, it can be difficult to cut though all of the marketing material that vendors throw at them. CIOs need to take the time to ask vendors just exactly what their definition of AI is. Once they have this, they then need to see if it matches what their company is looking for. CIOs should always be willing to take a gradual approach to implementing any AI project. An AI project is going to require the company to undergo a behavior shift and that can be difficult to do when everyone may not understand the new technology that they will be adopting.

What All Of This Means For You

We live in the 21st Century and this means that a lot of new technologies have become available to CIOs. One of the most interesting of these is Artificial Intelligence. Every CIO would like to be able to implement AI tools so that his or her company could start to get the benefits of having these tools make detailed decisions about how they should be better running the company. However, smaller firms have been holding back on implementing AI projects because of their complexity. CIOs need to find a way around these challenges.

CIOs at smaller firms that want to implement AI tools quickly run into a number of challenges having to do with staffing and funding issues. The good news is that larger technology firms along with a handful of startups are starting to create AI tools that are targeted at smaller firms. CIOs can gain operational efficiencies from implementing AI tools. However, they need to check to see if this is important to their firm. AI tools have to be customized to how a company does business. Smaller firms that create their own AI tools run into the problem that they don’t have enough data to fully test their tools. Currently not that many smaller firms are making use of AI tools. AI models are being created for smaller firms that allow them to simply load their data into the models and then they can start using these tools. Implementing these tools does not take a lot of technical talent. CIOs need to evaluate vendors and make sure that what they are offering matches what their firm needs.

There is no question that AI tools are powerful and can help a company compete more efficiently. However, it is the job of the CIO to determine how best to implement any AI tool at their company. They also have to make sure that the AI tool can be customized for their firm and that it has been tested to make sure that the results that it is producing are correct. The new tools that are being created specifically for smaller firms will allow CIOs to do this. However, CIOs are going to have to carefully evaluate their vendors and then carefully implement any AI tool that they select. New technology always takes a while to be accepted by any firm.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that CIOs need to partner with other departments before implementing any new AI tool?

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

There is no question that CIOs need help. There is just too much to do during a day as we deal with the `importance of information technology and there are too many people asking for a piece of the CIOs time. We all need someone to step into our lives and lend us a helping hand. I have some good news for you. That person may be preparing to start to help you out. However, you may not recognize them when they show up. It turns out that what every CIOs needs may be a virtual assistant.