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The benefits of introducing a chief AI officer

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
The Benefits Of Introducing A Chief Ai Officer

The meteoric rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace has prompted some companies to introduce a chief AI officer (CAIO). This role can help navigate the complexities of AI and help employees to adjust to the change.

AI is here to stay, and workplaces need to recognise that if they’re to remain competitive. Garry Valenzisi, vice-president and general manager of Iron Mountain ANZ, discussed the potential benefits of implementing a CAIO, noting just how crucial the role can be in championing AI adoption.

“Artificial intelligence has dramatically altered how we interact with the world around and how it interacts with us. Over the past decade, conveniences slipped unobtrusively into our lives as things grew more ‘intelligent’ with the progress, mainly enabled by data scientists activating discriminative AI use cases and machine learning capabilities typically arriving without much fanfare,” Valenzisi said.

“AI has rapidly become ubiquitous in competitive businesses; in fact, our research found 97 per cent of Australian organisations are already implementing the technology in their day to day. However, it is not without its challenges. As organisations embrace opportunities with generative AI, they also grapple with the challenges and risks it raises – particularly relating to correct management and activation, which is creating barriers to success.”

Research from Iron Mountain, cited by Valenzisi, revealed that 98 per cent of C-suite IT and data decision-makers agree that a CAIO can accelerate generative AI (GenAI) adoption even further. Despite this, just under a third (32 per cent) have a CAIO position at their organisation.

There are a variety of benefits to introducing a CAIO into the ranks. Valenzisi listed some as:

  • A unified asset strategy: This strategy helps organisations to discover, manage and optimise digital and physical assets used in gen AI applications.
  • Orchestrating resource needs: This orchestration includes working across the organisation so that talent, training and implementation capabilities are in place to accelerate gen AI adoption.
  • Ethical practices are followed: C-suite IT and data decision-makers want to know that the GenAI models used by their organisations are reliable, fair and transparent.
  • Data input and output are managed appropriately: Specifically, participants want data input and output from GenAI models to be governed, secured and managed responsibly across their life cycle.
  • Ownership risk is addressed: Our recent research found that respondents want the CAIO to help the organisation navigate uncertainties regarding copyright and ownership of content created by GenAI.

Aligning AI with business outcomes will help organisations embrace the evolution. Getting on the front foot and securing a CAIO early can help mitigate any confusion surrounding the tech.

Valenzisi said: “For organisations to scale and align AI with their business strategy, the emerging role of the CAIO has never been clearer. They help keep the cogs of innovation turning, accelerating rollout, and ensuring the complete and thorough implementation of this technology across all levels of the business. This strategic alignment will help organisations to truly capitalise on the potential of this new tool, benefiting both the company and its stakeholders.”

Understanding AI is only going to become increasingly important in the coming years. As noted by Valenzisi: “AI is no longer just a future innovation; it’s part of the everyday workplace and has transformative potential for businesses of every size.”

“CAIOs need to be strategic visionaries, ethics and risk managers and AI practice leaders. They are needed to share an organisation’s AI future, aligning initiatives with long-term enterprise goals and market trends, optimising data strategy and creating a unified asset strategy to support AI initiatives. Doing so requires strategic foresight and to anticipate and leverage AI advancements that enable a competitive edge.”

He said: “If organisations want to remain competitive, the position of a CAIO is quickly becoming a matter of strategic urgency. Not only to bolster innovation and tread the fine line between innovation and risk but to also stay abreast of evolving regulation and compliance – mitigating any financial or reputational threat. By utilising their expertise, a dedicated AI leader can navigate the complexity of these challenges with ease to ensure AI implementation is managed correctly and extracts the most value for businesses. Ultimately, this helps the business to remain competitive in a crowded landscape.”



Benefits include any additional incentives that encourage working a little bit more to obtain outcomes, foster a feeling of teamwork, or increase satisfaction at work. Small incentives may have a big impact on motivation. The advantages build on financial rewards to promote your business as a desirable employer.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.