Outbound Product Manager
Data Governance Officer
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Senior Director, Analytics & Insights
Publishers Clearing House
Solution Architecture and AI Engineering Lead
For years, Chief Data Officers (CDOs) and Chief Data and Analytics Officers (CDAOs) have been embracing artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive value for their organizations, but the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 has forever changed the already complex landscape. With this emerging technology posing new opportunities and risks, how can data and analytics leaders set themselves up to realize the benefits?
Generative AI has been a hot topic among Evanta, a Gartner Company’s, CDAO communities this year, and we recently surveyed our members about their current and future plans for AI and their outlook for the future. More than half (54%) of respondents said that they are already using generative AI tools at their organization, and an astonishing 90% are feeling “very positive” or “somewhat positive” about its impact on the future of business - more than any other member of the C-suite.
To get deeper insight into how their peers are thinking about and addressing generative AI at their businesses, the New York CDAO Community came together for a town hall this past June to discuss AI trends and tactics for developing robust AI strategies. Here, data and analytics leaders gathered in small groups to share their greatest challenges, near- and mid-term focus areas, how they are making changes to their data estate and the implications for the workforce.
The program was moderated by Sami Akbay, Outbound Product Manager at Google Cloud. New York CDAO community members Bharati Kolli, Data Governance Officer at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China; Alexis Bender, Senior Director, Analytics & Insights at Publishers Clearing House; and Sukumar Muramula, Solution Architecture and AI Engineering Lead at Sanofi helped to facilitate the discussion.
Key Takeaways from the Discussion
- CDAOs are in an “experimentation” or “exploratory” phase of AI.
Almost all participants shared that they are testing the waters of generative AI, and many said they are using this time to identify different use cases, such as AI chatbots for service requests and AI tools to improve productivity. In addition, data leaders are using this period to establish minimum requirements for staffing and time commitments. A few executives shared that they are waiting for regulations to be put in place or for early adopters to achieve success before they invest extensive resources into AI efforts.
- Data leakage is a top priority for executives.
Data and analytics leaders have many concerns about generative AI, with data leakage, traceability of information and privacy mentioned as their greatest challenges. The group brainstormed about controls that need to be put in place to protect sensitive data from leaking into public AI models, and one CDAO questioned, “Do we educate the company on this, or do we block company information from going on public models?”
Data leaders are putting the business first in their AI strategy.
CDAO community members from a wide array of industries all see the value of AI for their respective businesses, and they shared that creating business value is central to their AI strategies. One data leader commented, “Different models are used for different use cases. Always think of the business first and look at what the ROI will be before implementing.”
Educating the workforce will be critical.
There was agreement from participants that everyone in the organization - from super user to casual user to the general business - needs to be educated about generative AI. One CDAO shared, “We must think about the implications on the workforce. You cannot teach a machine without humans; the workforce is going to define what it [AI] is going to be.” Many are still developing their onboarding or education programs and identifying what role the data and analytics team will play in this.
For more information on how data and analytics leaders are tackling generative AI, view the complete results of our Community Pulse Survey on Generative AI and the Impact on Business here.
Evanta’s CDAO communities meet regularly to address the most critical priorities and trending topics impacting data and analytics leaders today, such as AI. If you would like to connect with C-level executives from the world's leading organizations on shared priorities and challenges, apply to join your local CDAO community today, and take a look at the calendar to see when your CDAO community is gathering next.
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