CIOs are not always leading AI projects, PwC reports

AI will provide a global economic growth of $15.7 trillion by 2030, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). However, the firm’s consultants found that Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are not always leading these fruitful AI projects.

CIOs are taking a step back

PwC surveyed 1,001 corporate presidents, C-suite executives and company officials at large US firms. Out of this pool, 20% said their companies will implement AI across their organisations next year.

However, approximately 25% said they had entrusted managers to oversee these AI projects. Moreover, just 15% had appointed an individual enterprise-wide AI leader – though this was not necessarily the CIO.

In addition, 3% said they were unsure who was in charge of AI. Overall, not one respondent revealed that their firm had a single corporate official overseeing and “owning” AI at their company.

Scott Likens, who leads PwC’s U.S. new services and emerging technology segment, spoke to the CIO Journal about the trend. “Some firms have invested in building analytics or automation groups that serve as the foundation for AI centres of excellence for their entire organisations and do include the CIO, or chief digital officer, as part of that leadership group,” he said.

The key to a successful AI project

Likens also highlighted the importance of data when it comes to successful AI projects. “Companies are coming at AI from different vantage points, depending upon where they have enterprise momentum, resources and most importantly access to useful data,” he added.

Market research company Forrester agreed that data is integral in its predictions for 2019. However, the firm also said that data-dependent AI could cause trouble for companies over the coming year.

This year, most companies struggled with basic data governance issues and were simply not ready for data-dependent AI. As a result, 60% of decision makers said that their top AI adoption challenge is producing and maintaining quality data.

Next year, GDPR and escalating security concerns will move “data governance to a more ambient and contextual” state. In 2019, most firms will therefore improve data governance as a result of AI.

While AI projects often depend on data, PwC also stressed the importance of a company-wide approach. 24% of firms said that their enterprise-wide AI projects were led by a “AI centre of excellence,” which constituted of a mixture of corporate officials with a range of skills.

What is driving investment in AI and how will retailers likely be using AI? Take a look at our Ask the Expert with Prof. Dr. Michael Feindt of Blue Yonder to find out 

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