How CEOs can tap AI’s full potential

Successfully augmenting human expertise with artificial intelligence and other smart technologies starts with the person at the top

CEOs must create a strategy for combining people and technology to change the way work gets done

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.

Discover the possibilities

  • 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

Envision an AI-enabled future

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:

  • Boosting efficiency

  • 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

Establish a process to deploy AI

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.

Prepare your people to work differently

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.

Determine your stance on AI ethics

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.

Contact us

Wilson Chow

Wilson Chow

Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Industry Leader, PwC China

David Lancefield

David Lancefield

Partner, Strategy& UK

Tel: +44 (0)7712 140560

Dr. Deniz  Caglar

Dr. Deniz Caglar

Principal, Strategy&, Strategy& US

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