An AI-mazing Revolution

An AI-mazing Revolution Author: Matt Cockbill Published: 3 November 2017

Apologies for the title. It proved too hard to resist. Since the dawn of time intelligence has been measured by the ability to adapt. Using a rock to crack a shell, a stick to lever a boulder aside, or front edge technology and advanced algorithms to analyse previously unimaginable volumes of data, the use of tools has marked key stages of evolution. 

Rarely has being the smartest person in the room been the winner. The prize has always gone to the person able to apply the intelligence, to solve a problem. Good leaders don’t have to be either, but they recognise both.  In an age where every business is now a tech business (tongue in cheek or otherwise), the best IT leaders tie technology directly to business impact. This manifests in aligned technology & commercial strategy, action and delivery,

This is perfectly mirrored by the AI opportunity. It begins with innovative technology, but will thrive and evolve through the application of this exceptionally exciting tool.  Acquiring technologists of impeccable intellect and ability is the currency of the moment. This AI technical talent land-grab has now been going on for a few years. The real premium will come with the leadership talent that delivers AI successes and start to seek their next AI challenge. Proven exposure of combining AI development and delivery experience with the business change skills required to apply AI to an operational issue will command a premium. Those who relentlessly and successfully link technology to business benefit, business impact and improved commercial outcomes are going to win.

The AI world is turning faster than most commercial stakeholders can conceive, but there is palpable board appetite to evolve. AI offers exciting opportunities for productivity improvement in what is broadly accepted as a period of minimal productivity improvement. Tech leaders are going to be challenged to land some of the most exciting tech tools, while maintaining their place amongst the community defining the commercial vision. Get this right and there will be a whole new battle in the war for talent.

Matt Cockbill is a partner and leads the IT + Digital leadership and technology practices at Berwick Partners

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