AI and How It’s Shaping The Modern CIO

First came steam and water power; then electricity and assembly lines; then computerisation. It’s 2018, and we could be entering the fourth industrial revolution: Industry 4.0.

There has never been a time of such extraordinary promise or possible peril. AI is expected to drive worldwide revenues from nearly $8bn in 2016 to more than $47bn in 2020 (IDC, 2017), creating a seismic shift on humanity’s future. Unsurprisingly, the disruptive potential of AI, IoT and rapidly evolving robotics technologies fall primarily on CIOs and CTOs, compelling the IT function to play a more central, high profile and strategic role in their companies.

Yesterday’s CIO was responsible on maintaining the technical infrastructure at their company. Today’s CIO is a partner with the organisation leaders and is tasked with discovering ways of employing innovative technology to put the business in a position to lead their industry by expanding skills of the workforce, driving digital transformation and redesigning business processes.

However, despite huge levels of interest in AI technologies, current implementations continue to be low; only 4% of CIOs have implemented AI, whilst 46% have developed plans to do so (Gartner, 2018). CIOs rank AI, followed by digital security and IoT as the most problematic technologies to implement as they demand new skills, many of which are scarce (Gartner, 2018).

CIOs face further challenge in reacting to various business leaders’ range of attitudes about AI; those who believe it’s the answer to all of a business’ problems, to those dead-set against investing in such unknown and emerging technology. These challenges are leading to salient questions for senior IT executives:

  • How can you balance your AI technology strategy to set appropriate expectations?
  • How are leading CIOs educating themselves to discern between the vendor hype and actual product capabilities with the tremendous amount of noise around AI in the industry?
  • What does a newly AI- and robotics-enabled workforce look like? How will CIOs incorporate these new technologies?

I have organised many intimate dinner discussions and networking events. I specialise in engaging C-Level and Director level executives in New York, London and Atlanta. This requires writing content that provides insight and information to change perspective and thinking in order to engage senior decision makers. This is an example piece I wrote for an event attended by CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CMOs, CIOs and CTOs of companies such as Rolls-Royce, HSBC, Lidl and The Cabinet Office.