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CIOs and GenAI: Prioritizing AI Ambitions and Readiness for Businesses


CIOs (chief information officers) are integral to IT organizations. On the whole, CIOs are responsible for overseeing the management, implementation, and the overall usability of a business’s information technologies and available resources. And because the pace of technological innovation on a global scale is moving at rapid-fire speeds, the role of CIOs has increased in importance, as well.

That’s one part of this story.

The other part is the hot-button byword of the year: AI.

According to Gartner, GenAI is at the helm of a larger shift in groundbreaking human-machine connections. Thus, as AI becomes a must-incorporate element of enterprise initiatives, CIOs play a major role in how they shape AI and, quite frankly, how AI will continue shaping us.

The long-story-short of it? Unlocking the value of GenAI should be near the top of most CIOs’ lists.

“GenAI is not just a technology or just a business trend. It is a profound shift in how humans and machines interact,” said Mary Mesaglio, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “We are moving from what machines can do for us to what machines can be for us. Machines are evolving from being tools to becoming our teammates. Gartner predicts that by 2025, GenAI will be a workforce partner for 90% of all companies worldwide.”

Recently, Gartner analysts provided a rundown of their two man focus areas, in terms of properly unleashing and supporting human-AI work over the next 12-24 months:

Deciding on AI Ambitions and becoming truly AI-Ready.

Regarding AI Ambitions, it concerns whether or not a company is dabbling in what has been called “Everyday AI” (e.g. businesses’ virtual productivity partners) and “Game-Changing AI” (e.g. AI-powered solutions that, per Gartner, “can disrupt entire business models and alter industries for the better.”)

In this vein, CIOs can help their executive peers cut through the understandable complexities of GenAI in order to best define their AI Ambitions. Don Scheibenreif, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner, echoed this.

“More and more AI will be jointly delivered by IT and the wider enterprise,” he said. “To succeed, the whole executive team must be engaged. This provides a tremendous opportunity for CIOs to really make a difference.”

Then, regarding becoming AI-Ready, businesses’ AI Ambition roadmaps become more solidified. To facilitate the swift and safe adoption of GenAI over the next 12 months, the directive from Gartner for CIOs is threefold:

  • Establish AI-ready principles: Lighthouse principles must align with the values of the organization. That is to say, its values are the guiding light for navigating the unknowns of how humans and machines will continue to interact.
  • Make data AI-ready: For data to be AI-ready, it must meet five criteria: Secure, Enriched, Fair, Accurate, and Governed (i.e. by the lighthouse principles).
  • Implement AI-ready security: For every positive use of AI, someone is putting that same technology to negative use. This is the dark side of AI. CIOs should prepare for new attack vectors and work with executive teams to create an acceptable use policy for public generative AI solutions.

“The era of AI-powered business will lead to unintended consequences without advance planning. CIOs need a way to light the way forward, even when everything seems new or murky,” said Scheibenreif. “To safely harness this disruption, CIOs must work with executive leaders to define their ambitions for using everyday AI and game-changing AI, and to establish AI-ready principles, data and security.”

Be part of the discussion about the latest trends and developments in the Generative AI space at Generative AI Expo, taking place February 13-15, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Generative AI Expo discusses the evolution of GenAI and feature conversations focused on the potential for GenAI across industries and how the technology is already being used to create new opportunities for businesses to improve operations, enhance customer experiences, and create new growth opportunities. 

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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