The challenge is to understand the interactions between people and technology, and create a strategy for how the two can come together. The sheer scope of change can be overwhelming. But CEOs can begin to develop this vision by focusing on five areas:
The PwC Digital IQ Survey consistently shows that a CEO’s digital acumen correlates with the company’s financial performance.
Educate yourself on how technologies like AI and automation are likely to disrupt and improve critical aspects of your business
Develop a shared, base-level understanding among your executive team and board of directors about what AI and related technologies are capable of and how they can be integrated throughout the business
Bring in diverse perspectives and people who will ask questions and poke holes in assumptions
The hype surrounding emerging applications can be so persuasive that companies are tempted to chase after them, launching pilot after pilot without a clear approach for scaling up successes, or tying initiatives to broader strategic goals. To avoid this trap, link specific applications to specific business problems.
Your vision could include:
Improving the customer experience
Creating new products and services
Overhauling how certain services are delivered
Enhance or amplify experts’ knowledge
Automating repetitive tasks to free up employees to create value in new ways
1. Put a team in place led by the CIO or CTO, including data scientists, tech experts, operational managers and commercial leads. Sync with tech leads to develop a clear picture of development paths, including solution development, acquiring AI companies, licensing AI solutions, and forging partnerships.
2. Establish decision-making authority, governance and other parameters that allow technology to be embedded across business units and functions.
3. In thinking about data, identify where you want to create value, what data assets you already have, and which ones you need.
4. Ensure that the right people have access to the right data when they need it.
5. Emphasise that data-driven decision-making will become the new normal.
CEOs need to harness employees’ intrinsic motivation to learn, and take responsibility for upskilling and retraining their workforces.
You can foster a culture of adaptability and lifelong learning that will be crucial to reaping the benefits of AI and related technologies. Change recruiting and training to make sure employees becomes AI-savvy enough to participate in conversations around automation and AI.
In our CEO survey, 55% reported that a lack of key skills is inhibiting their ability to innovate.
Because algorithms “learn” from historical data, some companies have launched bots that simply replicate ethnic stereotypes and bias-filled decisions made by humans.
Build processes and train teams to look for biases in data and machine learning models. Integrate risk mitigation and ethical concerns from the start. Involve your board of directors - unintended consequences of AI could pose compliance risks and damage your brand.
CEOs will need to do their jobs differently to prepare for a future in which humans and technology work together to accomplish more than ever before.
Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Leader, Partner, PwC China
Tel: +86 755 8261 8886
Global Artificial Intelligence Leader, Principal, PwC United States
Tel: +1 (617) 633 8354
Dr. Deniz Caglar
PwC's Strategy&, Principal, PwC United States