CIOs: Ensure you describe the AI opportunity
Artificial Intelligence

CIOs: Ensure you describe the AI opportunity

A CIO now COO of a major financial services organisation once said the business aim was to be "a big local company". What this business technology leader meant was to have the intimacy of that local independent coffee, book or bicycle shop, but with the scale to be super efficient and innovative as a major national or international business. 

Being a big local company is not only vital to meeting the needs of customers, it is an important way of making hard working and loyal staff feel valued, so that you gain the best from them. In 2019, as I began discussing in last month's CIO column, the rapid march of technologies and in particular how artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to radically change the way your organisation operates, but they also place a set of fears and therefore barriers into your organisation. 

Communicating the impact, especially the positive elements, is vital. From the interviews and work I do with a wide variety of CIOs and CTOs I am increasingly seeing AI being used to improve organisations and having a highly positive impact on the most important asset any organisation has within its premises - its people. But, if CIOs do not communicate clearly how AI will change the way they work, problems could arise.  In this final column on how to communicate the benefits of AI, I offer a further three metaphors, which I really hope will help you in your role as a CIO.

4: Being local

I began this column with the story of the CIO turned COO of the financial services organisation, because a number of CIOs and CTOs I meet are using AI to improve customer service. At a recent engagement at the industry summit for the retail sector everyone was talking of personalisation, whether they were a nationwide sandwich seller, globally renowned restaurant, hardware store, all the way through to elements of the supply chain. The global CIO of a major FMCG said they are working towards a market segmentation of one.

To get to this position, organisations will need to mine a wealth of data and in today's data rich landscape, AI is the only technology that can empower your team members to deliver that vision of a personalised service. Using AI your frontline staff will not be replaced, but will become like much loved and cared for landlords in a favourite bar or a craftsperson sought out for their work.

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Mark Chillingworth

Mark Chillingworth is a CIO and CTO journalist, ghost writer, moderator and advisor with over 11 years experience. From 2010 to 2016 he was Editor in Chief of the award-winning CIO UK. In 2011 he created the CIO 100, an annual transformation power list of the UK’s most influential CIOs and launched the UK’s first CIO Podcast in 2016.

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