Published on June 12, 2024, 7:08 am

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are under increasing pressure to ensure that Artificial Intelligence (AI) adds value to their organizations. Implementing AI without adequately training staff is a recipe for failure. Organizations expect CIOs to ensure that employees have the necessary skills to deliver on the promise of AI. Many IT leaders find themselves in new territory when it comes to spearheading organization-wide training initiatives.

“At the CIO level, we are responsible for the vision and how that vision is realized,” says Gary Flowers, CIO of transformation and technology services at the non-profit workforce development organization, Year Up. A recent Gartner report reveals that 47% of organizations currently using Generative AI tools have initiated some form of employee training, with an additional 38% planning to do so soon.

Training staff parallels the complexity of AI itself; understanding objectives is crucial for success. Often, CIOs pursue AI just because they are pressured by executives or boards. Without a specific use case, they might apply AI incorrectly or for issues unsuitable for its capabilities.

Consider Year Up’s predictive matching initiative as an example. By leveraging AI and machine learning, they aim to match young adults with suitable work experiences to help them build sustainable careers. This approach reframes AI as a business problem-solving tool rather than a technological wonder.

Similarly, workforce training requires aligning with AI capabilities and preparing internal teams accordingly. Involving employees from inception is key to deciding what business problems AI can solve and how training can facilitate this.

Experimentation plays a vital role in familiarizing individuals new to Generative AI with its potential applications in problem-solving scenarios. Embracing a childlike sense of wonder towards technology encourages exploration and innovation.

Integrating structured external training programs seems to be the norm among organizations investing in formal AI education for their workforce. Collaborating with providers like Microsoft can enhance employee skill sets effectively through tailored approaches like virtual roundtables.

As businesses navigate the evolving landscape of Generative AI, strategic planning coupled with practical hands-on experience becomes essential. Setting realistic goals and anticipating setbacks while fostering a culture of curiosity and collaboration empowers organizations to leverage AI successfully within their operations.

In conclusion, approaching AI as a targeted solution rather than a universal remedy requires thoughtful consideration from CIOs. Balancing cautiousness with proactive adaptation ensures that organizations harness the true potential of Generative AI while equipping their workforce with the necessary skills for future success in an ever-evolving technological landscape.


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