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If CIOs are the sheriffs of digital transformation town, then AI strategy is the newest arrival they’ve got their eyes on. The CIO role has long since evolved from just overlooking the technical aspects of an organization, such as managing projects and launching new systems. Today, CIOs are expected to spreadhead the company’s overall digital transformation—a responsibility that has jumped in urgency since 2020—and are acknowledged as full strategic partners in achieving organizational business goals.

Acording to a recent Gartner survey of 2,457 CIO respondents across multiple industries and countries, their top priorities for investment this year are cybersecurity, business intelligence and data analytics, cloud (80%, 78%, and 73% respectively)—and AI.

  • 70% say GenAI is “game-changing” technology
  • 73% plan to increase investment in AI in the next 12 months
  • 9% have deployed AI technologies in their organizations to date, but
  • 55% intend to deploy them over the next 24 months

At the same time, only 9% of leaders have an AI strategy in place.

It’s clear that a business strategy for AI adoption offers many advantages to IT professionals and to the organizations they support, and that CIOs will be heavily involved in, if not leading this adoption. What is often less clear is how to go about its practical implementation. 

Selecting the right use cases, gaining a clear understanding of the hurdles and opportunities involved, outlining the steps necessary to effectively integrate AI, and creating a comprehensive AI strategy that balances risk and reward are all difficult challenges to navigate. 

Embracing AI in your business strategy provides numerous benefits, and as decision-makers navigate the practical implementation, Atera stands out as the optimal IT management solution. With advanced AI capabilities, Atera empowers CIOs to select strategic use cases, overcome challenges, and establish a comprehensive AI strategy that ensures a balanced approach to risk and reward. Choose Atera for seamless AI integration and elevate your organization’s IT efficiency.

“I think one of the things that we’re really seeing these days—in many companies and in the industry in general—is that every CEO today is asking his managers, he’s asking his CIO, he’s asking his executives: What is your AI strategy? How can you leverage the power of AI to make our business more efficient, faster, to give better services?”

Oshri Moyal, CTO and co-founder of Atera

Here are 10 steps that can help you create a successful strategy framework tailored to your organization’s unique needs and goals. 

1. Set clear objectives

What are your primary goals when incorporating AI? Are you looking to automate repetitive tasks, optimize your workflow, or enhance customer service? Consider the feasibility of your goals. By clearly identifying your objectives, you can align your AI initiatives with your business goals from the get-go.

2. Define success metrics

Choose metrics that relate to the core areas of the organization that tie directly into business objectives. For example, do you want to set efficiency-related metrics such as employee productivity or process optimization? Value-related, such as customer satisfaction? In any case, follow the SMART framework when choosing: Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

3. Assess your organization

Before diving into implementation, you must assess your organization’s current state. Evaluate your AI readiness: Your existing infrastructure and technological capabilities, upskilling and hiring needs, your current data, privacy, and cybersecurity polices, and more. This assessment will help you understand where you stand and what resources you need to invest to bridge any AI adoption gaps.

4. Choose use cases

Selecting the right AI use cases is crucial for a successful strategy. Are you looking to implement single-point use cases or aiming for a broader organizational transformation? Based on your objectives and potential ROI, identify specific AI tools and applications that align with your business needs, both in the short term and long term. Consider the business value, the effort necessary, and the likelihood of success (i.e., risk). Prioritize use cases that offer the most significant potential benefits.

5. Ensure executive buy-in

Successful AI integration and deployment requires financial commitment as well as managerial support. For skeptics, highlight the value of AI for your organization by explaining how AI can drive growth, efficiency, and competitiveness.

6. Allocate budget and resources

AI implementation requires a well-thought-out budget and resource allocation plan. Consider all aspects, including hardware, software, talent acquisition, training, and ongoing maintenance costs. For third-party applications, consider the value of a monthly vs. annual subscription, the different tiers, and the number of users that need to be supported. Ensure your budget aligns with your strategic objectives.

7. Maintain data governance and privacy

AI runs on data—and that aspect introduces a multitude of potential risks. Ensure your selected AI vendors prioritize data privacy, security, and compliance with regulations like GDPR or HIPAA. Establish robust data governance practices to safeguard sensitive information and maintain trust with your customers. Understand what data your AI applications will be accessing and using, and why. Create training programs for all employees that account for the new vulnerabilities introduced. 

8. Ensure scalability

Are you implementing AI for a specific department or process, or are you integrating it into your entire organization? In any case, best practice is to start small and gradually scale your AI initiatives. Begin with a small-scale pilot project to test your chosen AI applications and learn from the results. Once you’ve validated the benefits, plan for a wider deployment across multiple departments and processes.

9. Measure ROI

To ensure that your technology choices and investments will remain relevant and adaptable as your business evolves, evaluate your AI strategy and tools periodically to ensure they continue to align with your business objectives. Measure ROI by tracking KPIs and making the adjustments necessary to continually optimize your AI initiatives. 

10. Stay updated

AI is a rapidly evolving field, so ensure that you stay updated on both AI trends and regulatory changes. Keep an eye on conferences, webinars, and workshops to keep your strategy flexible to emerging opportunities. Talk with peers and other industry leaders to exchange ideas, discuss challenges and best practices, and learn from each other’s experiences.

Bottom line

Deciding on the right AI strategy for your business involves a systematic approach that considers your objectives, resources, and readiness. By following these steps, you can create a well-rounded AI strategy framework that leverages its power to drive growth and success for your organization. 

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