4 Ways for CTOs to Find Their Own Way With Generative AI

Generative AI presents opportunities and challenges that necessitate agile adaptation and strategic leadership from CTOs in its integration and responsible use.

Subha Tatavarti, CTO

December 21, 2023

4 Min Read
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Mopic via Alamy Stock

Generative artificial intelligence is igniting a revolution across every industry and facet of business, much like the wildfire spread of the internet during the 90s. Imagine a near future where AI not only streamlines customer service and optimizes supply chain logistics but also enhances decision-making at a lightning-fast pace. The generative AI wave isn’t just a ripple of change, it’s defining the very contour of this decade.

Generative AI is more than just “a technology.” It’s a technological landscape, constantly changing and offering up new terrain (at times fertile and at times challenging, even treacherous). To navigate this evolving landscape, chief technology officers must prepare for continuous learning and adaptation. Navigating this evolving landscape requires CTOs to gear up for continuous learning and adaptation. Generative AI won’t merely unfold in businesses; proactive measures will be essential for firms to harness its potential.

How Are Businesses Considering Generative AI Today?

When companies peer into the landscape of generative AI, they tend to feel excitement and trepidation. There’s excitement because the team recognizes that the generative AI use cases they’re seeing could drive new efficiencies in their business, crucial productivity gains, and innovative ways to communicate with each other and their customers. There’s trepidation because unfamiliar territory means experimentation and, potentially, error. There’s a lot of confusion going around. Businesses are grappling with how best to use AI technologies, when and where to use them, and what the risks and implications might be for the future of their products and services.

Related:Data Leaders Say ‘AI Paralysis’ Stifling Adoption: Study

Trepidation and excitement become entangled when businesses try to find ways of using generative AI. Leaders are thinking about what AI means for their business. Will they make AI part of their DNA? Or will it be an add-on, a mindset they can adopt or refute? Will they need in-house expertise, a suite of partners, or both?

To complicate matters, many still view AI technology as replacing human-led processes and disrupting job titles and roles. Yes, we’ve already witnessed some scenarios where AI has “taken over” a particular function. The key to successful AI businesses will be to integrate technologies into processes and offerings to transform and empower teams rather than replace them.

How Can CTOs Ensure Successful Implementation of Generative AI?

Today’s CTOs have a challenge on their hands: how to step boldly into the world of generative AI and use it to gain productivity and ROI while also practicing caution and evolving how they work with AI as it evolves. Here are some key best practices to remember:

Related:4 Ways AI Is Rocking This CISO’s World

1. Land on the right models

Organizations need the right models in place to tap into AI’s potential. Teams need to find the correct use cases for their existing needs and future objectives. Where in a workflow can a CTO safely and productively add a tool? Part of this evaluative process will be to explore what kind of data obfuscation is needed. How can a CTO take advantage of ChatGPT, for instance, without posting sensitive data and exposing assets?

2. Focus on cost-effectiveness

Choose use cases that offer the best return on investment. If a CTO aims to expand their sales output or grow their user base, how could they implement AI to carve out those productivity gains? A certain amount of experimentation -- of trial and error -- will likely be required to see what tactics work for a business.

3. Establish fair and responsible use

One of the primary risks of AI use is data security and privacy. Building parameters around that data is challenging because large language models are trained on so much data. The ideas of fair and responsible use will develop as AI evolves, but CTOs can prepare solid foundations following basic safety principles around third-party technology. CTOs should always ensure a service layer between them and native technologies to protect their workloads.

Related:The Evolving Ethics of AI: What Every Tech Leader Needs to Know

4. Educate the whole team

At our company, we have around 245,000 employees, and we’ve realized that we need to commit to providing levels of awareness and education on generative AI to every single one of those people. Training is an investment and a risk, but if CTOs are going to absorb the positive traits of AI into their businesses, every team member needs to have an understanding and enthusiasm for it.

Embracing hope could be critical to navigating the expanding realm of generative AI. There are tremendous opportunities to seize in the days and years ahead. The promise of generative AI is not merely in the tools it offers but in the boundless landscapes it presents to those eager enough to sculpt them.

About the Author(s)

Subha Tatavarti

CTO, Wipro Limited

As Wipro Limited‘s chief technology officer, Subha Tatavarti leads Wipro’s platform, research and development, technology strategy, and innovation center teams, as well as Topcoder. With a hyperfocus on research and development and its strategic technology vision, Subha’s organization focuses on technologies that will be top priority for enterprises in the next three to five years. Under her direction, Wipro will enhance its position as a dominant technology player, generating value and fueling growth for its customers.

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