What this technology means for today’s CIO

CIO at Navanoversees the Business Technology, Data, Security and IT Services functions.

AI is becoming an indispensable tool for companies to drive growth, improve efficiency and stay competitive. I didn’t write that – ChatGPT, the now-familiar chatbot launched by OpenAI in November 2022, did.

Seemingly overnight, this revolutionary technology made millions of jaws drop by automatically stitching together sets of structurally sound sentences and fully functional lines of code. It’s become such a hot topic that even the Kardashians have to be jealous. The limelight is well deserved. I believe that generative AI will bring about massive changes in the way companies run their business, the technology solutions they need to be competitive, and the skills required of their employees.

Why all the fuss? It starts with understanding that ChatGPT differs from the AI ​​of recent years, with more advanced natural language processing capabilities and a more robust ability to learn from prompts and fine-tune. And it’s getting so good, so fast, that companies that don’t already consider it a key growth component will have to do so very soon — or risk being left behind by their competition.

As businesses adopt and adapt, forward-thinking technology leaders and CIOs will face new questions and challenges to prepare their technology stacks, platforms, and organizations to embrace this unprecedented wave of technology. You should note the following.

• What to do first: When considering this technology, there are multiple use cases to consider, from simple helpdesk bots to larger solutions replacing entire outbound sales teams. How do technology leaders prioritize potential implementations? As with any technology assessment, it starts with understanding your business capabilities and processes. Focus on processes that can be improved with AI and ML, and then assess what business value those improvements could deliver. Categorizing projects as low, medium, or high impact and determining their ROI will help you prioritize them.

• Buy or build: With all the excitement surrounding ChatGPT, it seems every provider on the planet has started touting “AI skills”. As teams evaluate these vendors and their solutions, it’s imperative to understand which solutions really leverage this new Generative AI capability and which are just jumping on the AI ​​bandwagon. A deep dive into the underlying technology powering the AI ​​component of the solution will be crucial.

Alternatively, teams may decide not to purchase and instead develop their solution in-house. First, however, they must assess the specific infrastructure needed, manage commercial licensing, and provide the team with the right resources to train the models (among other steps).

• Make it yours: Not only is AI useless without data, but also with it incorrect Data. Of course, making sure the solution gets the right inputs depends on the needs of each organization, but each organization needs the right architecture, the right data model, the right resources, prompts, and training. Only then can companies be sure that they are using the power of this technology effectively.

• Impact on talent: Let’s face it: Generative AI will replace some jobs. So what is happening to the people who are doing these jobs today? That’s a valid concern — one that reminds me of the discussions between infrastructure teams when cloud was the hottest topic about a decade ago. I would imagine that over time we will see a similar sea change in all kinds of roles and functions, from call center agents to engineers. We can also expect an increased focus on new roles in core functions, such as B. Prompt engineers on data teams needed to fine-tune models. Even if the needs will vary from company to company, it is clear that personnel changes will have to be made.

• Privacy and security: As with any new technology, there are numerous opinions on how Generative AI is regulated and the impact it has on an individual’s privacy and security. Copyright protection and disinformation are just two of the challenges we have seen from the start, and this number is sure to increase, which will inevitably lead to regulation (which EU and UK governments are already considering). The fact remains, however, that technology is always moving faster than government bodies, so where we end up remains to be seen.

When it comes to generative AI, CIOs face big decisions with huge consequences. Ultimately, the goal should be to drive business value while maintaining trust – trust that the CIO has the knowledge and foresight to keep their organization ahead of the competition in a thoughtful and controlled manner.

Generative AI is exciting and scary at the same time. Sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to be sorted out is tempting, but also risky. That is why, as a technology leader, we need to step out of our comfort zones, create awareness, educate ourselves and work closely with our business partners to drive a thoughtful approach to embracing this game changer within our own organizations.

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