Six Key Conversations Between Executives and CIOs to Help AI Succeed

The promise of artificial intelligence (AI) is often not fulfilled in our companies – not because of technical limitations, but because business leadership does not gain clarity about what AI is and where and how it can bring the most value in their organizations.

CIOs have the opportunity to guide their organizations through six leadership conversations to bridge this gap.

1. What does AI mean in our business?

First, make sure everyone shares a common understanding and language of what AI is in their business context. Break it down to simple use cases and examples. Talk about three categories of AI: systems that behave like humans, like chatbots; systems that automate people out of the loop; and systems that generate next-level insights.

2. How does AI work with our people to deliver results?

Discuss how AI will work with your employees – will it replace them, help them work better, or collaborate with them? All three can work well, but the form of value and risk is different for each. Get leaders used to categorizing AI opportunities like this.

3. How transparent is AI?

Think how much you need to understand how AI does its job. Businesses need to avoid unhelpful, unintended, maybe even dangerous or illegal biases in algorithms. Imagine an intelligent marketing algorithm that inadvertently discriminates based on race or gender. The need for transparency can lead us to favor one AI technique over another, even if it performs less well. Managers must develop a strong awareness of this topic.

4. Which AI-powered business opportunities should we pursue?

Based on the answers to the three questions above, leaders should decide where to focus AI activities. Decisions here in question one mentioned three-part typology of KI can use the maps to the various domains of the internal supply chain and the ecosystem. This ensures that we are not “fashion victims” of AI, but rather the most valuable possibilities of artificial intelligence throughout our company into account.

5. How willing are we to rely on AI?

By combining the results of questions two and three above, executives can make high-level decisions and commission guidelines on how much AI-powered automation is desirable and how transparent AI needs to be in different parts of the organization. For example, a company may be happy with a fully automated “black box” showing possible fraudulent transactions, but systems making hiring decisions may need to be much more “human up to date” and transparent.

6. How will we manage and mitigate AI-related risks?

Despite smart decisions about where to deploy which types of AI, a residual risk remains. The sixth conversation with leaders should cover types of risks, how to mitigate them, and where the responsibility lies. The types of risks range from injury or even death, for example from autonomous vehicles, to financial, brand and reputational risks. Developing a portfolio of techniques such as hedging with insurance and providing radical transparency to stakeholders is critical.


Gartner analysts will further discuss key considerations on artificial intelligence for executives at the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2022, taking place November 7-10, 2022 in Barcelona, ​​Spain.

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