Barclay Bryan Press promo

How CIOs Can Build IT Teams for the AI Age

By Trevor Schulze

The rapid rise of AI is pushing CIOs to quickly reevaluate their vision for the future, the role of IT, and what it means to build a strong team.

CIOs are in the unique position of advising their organizations on investment in AI while leading the teams responsible for its implementation. As that essential bridge between business and technology, CIOs must start building the right teams now to launch their organizations into the future.

Three key approaches are essential to building this bridge.

1. Adopt the role of change agent.

As the acceleration of AI and its near-constant evolution drives IT leadership through its own transformation, CIOs can’t afford to limit their role to operations. The current landscape calls on them to be change agents in adopting new technologies.

A change agent must make decisions considering business impact and clearly communicate the value of proposed technological advancements in business terms. Leading this way sets the foundation for how IT teams think and operate.

With the role of change agent comes the responsibility to build IT teams comprised of people who have a different and broader set of skills that enables them to actively explore the diverse range of opportunities related to AI. Respondents to a recent Alteryx survey of business leaders overwhelmingly indicated that having multiple skills (72%) versus having specialization in a specific area (28%) will be critical for careers in the future.

2. Develop teams to better understand the business, with data literacy at the core.

Data literacy and command of data analytics are arguably some of the most important skills for unlocking AI’s full potential.

Yet many IT leaders find themselves facing a data skills gap. In a survey investigating the use of analytics, fewer than a third of U.S. data workers said they are aware of the importance of data, and fewer than a quarter said their entire organization has access to data.

IT teams must have full command of data-driven tools to help others who need and want to understand and assess their use cases, pain points, and technical knowledge.

Giving employees access to data and the tools to analyze it can boost the business, but that access won’t help unless employees have a solid understanding of how to work with, ask questions about, and solve problems using data.

With data at the foundation of AI, multiskilled IT teams have a chance to empower the business by showing business users how to work with data and demonstrating their own value as the gateway to—and guardians of—that data.

Modern IT teams must also be conversant in the various ethical, intellectual property, copyright, and data privacy issues associated with the proliferation of enterprise generative AI. Businesses are counting on CIOs and their teams to develop and manage technology solutions that accelerate growth and to extract more value without compromising on compliance or ethics obligations.

AI represents an entire field of study, extending far beyond the generative AI technologies dominating conversations today and demanding education and exploration. CIOs and their teams would be wise to collaborate with academic institutions, participate in industry consortiums, and attend conferences that help them keep up with the latest insights across the industry.

3. Never stop learning. Never stop coaching.

Learning doesn’t start and end with skills training; it must involve doing.

The same IT teams that focus on mitigating risk will also implement organizations’ investments in AI, and that will come with its own set of failures. Mistakes are a natural part of the innovation process, especially with rapidly moving technology. A successful organization and its IT team will continue to iterate over time, building its best practices along the way.

CIOs must set the guardrails for their teams, including ethical considerations and policies governing the use of data and AI. These guidelines will ensure teams can innovate safely and securely. As technology evolves, CIOs must be mindful that their policies evolve, too.

An Eye Toward the Future

No other leader within an organization is better equipped than the CIO to have a voice in AI strategy, to hire and upskill the right teams for implementation, and to create a culture that adapts to continuous change. If they get it right, the IT teams CIOs build and lead today will fully recognize the opportunities of AI in the future.

Learn more about the Alteryx AI Platform for Enterprise Analytics.

Trevor Schulze is the CIO of Alteryx.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top