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Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change everything – even the C-suite

Published by Lisa Lacy in The DRUM - 15 May 2017 at http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/05/15/ai-will-change-everything-even-the-c-suite

"And as more companies realize how valuable their customer data is – sometimes more so than their products" – Kevin Lester, Vice President of Engineering and Search at stock photo company Shutterstock, said "maximizing customer data is becoming a significant priority, which is why he thinks a dedicated CXO is likely a good investment."

“The CXO would have a simple goal: Make maximum use of customer data to increase company efficiency, drive new product development and expand business offerings,” Lester added. “Although I'd stop short of labeling these executives Chief Artificial Intelligence Officers, in the future I could see the emergence of Chief Intelligence Officers who supervise how and when you apply data to help grow your business. These types of roles are already in high demand at the Manager, Director and Vice President levels and with the increased demand in the field, it stands to reason we'll continue to grow departments and businesses in this direction.”

In addition, Lester said we've only scratched the surface on how AI and deep learning can be implemented to better serve customers, so the role of a Chief Intelligence Officer would set a company's policy, strategy and application of data to drive the business forward.

“This isn't about patching up problems as much as sensing where the industry can go five or ten years down the line,” Lester added.

Ajay Khanna, Vice President of Product Marketing at data management software company Reltio, agreed centralizing AI, along with analytics and underlining data management, is critical because in part the effectiveness of machine learning depends on the reliability of the data and the training sets developed for the data scientist.

“Leading organizations are realizing this already and creating a single source of truth for data across the organization, bringing data management, machine learning and analytics within the same offices,” Khanna said. “But to ensure data reliability, discover [relationships] across data elements and effectively use predictive analytics and machine learning to extract relevant insights and intelligent recommendations for business users – all key elements in enabling AI to help businesses make better decisions faster – a modern approach to data management is required. Today, we see this happening more and more under the auspices of a Chief Data Officer. Whether the CDO role will morph into that of a Chief AI Officer or subsume its responsibilities depends on the organization size and product and business models. Semantics aside, there has never been a greater need to standardize data management and analytics, or to make sure that those working within each are part of the same team. We must be vigilant not to neglect the data, and also not to create data or AI silos.”

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