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CEO decision-making in the age of AI

September 27, 2023

“It is an epic challenge.” This is how IBM researchers introduce a recent study investigating the relationship between CEOs and their decision-making and new technologies, especially generative AI. In a world where CEOs are making decisions faster than ever, at the same speed as new tech tools emerge, how do the best-performing CEOs make the right calls? 

Some clues:

  • 75% believe competitive advantage will depend on who has the most advanced generative AI.
  • 50% are now integrating generative AI into products and services.
  • 43% are using generative AI to inform their strategic decisions.

The study also reveals that there’s more pressure to accelerate AI adoption than to slow it down: 66% among board members; 64% coming from investors, creditors and lenders; and 55% from employees.

Organizational Readiness

According to the authors, CEOs are eager to act on AI, but their teams are less confident. Seven in 10 CEOs say AI brings broad benefits and think their organization has the knowledge and skills to adopt generative AI today. Their executive teams, however, are far more wary about AI and the internal capacity of the workforce.

An action guide

Here’s what IBM suggests for top CEOs to prioritize when elevating decision-making in the age of AI:

Get everyone smart on tech and data. Provide targeted training specifically designed for an AI world. Elevate those, such as your CDO, who have the expertise and insight to bring together business strategy, technology strategy, and data strategy.

Make “outcomes over activity” a mantra. Be prepared to terminate projects that are not delivering the intended value, supporting strategic goals, or following ethical guidelines. 

Make the data work for you, not vice versa. Use a broad range of planning approaches, including forecasting and modeling, scenario-based planning, benchmarking, and data mining. Recognize that no single decision-making model will suffice for all situations.

Source: IBM