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Crafting 2024 AI strategy for your IT department: A guide for CIOs and IT leaders

An actionable seven-point AI strategy for IT leaders, to ensure that IT teams show technological advancements and support growth.

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transitioned from a futuristic vision to a cornerstone of IT strategy for every modern business. As we step into 2024, IT leaders are uniquely positioned to harness AI's potential to revolutionize service delivery, and accelerate digital transformation to back their business growth needs.  

This post outlines an actionable seven-point AI strategy framework for IT leaders, to ensure that IT teams not only keep pace with technological advancements like AI but also support their business growth.  

The business opportunity of AI is too big to ignore as a modern CIO and Head of IT. It’s time to act.  

1. Align AI strategy with your business objectives  

The first step in planning your AI strategy for IT in 2024 is to define clear, measurable objectives that align with your business goals. Whether it's improving customer satisfaction, reducing response times, or enhancing internal productivity, setting a few measurable and specific targets is crucial.  

According to Gartner, AI implementation in IT services has the potential to reduce service tickets by up to 30% and it’s critical for IT leaders to define their AI strategy for Inward AI (employee productivity and IT efficiency) versus Outward AI (new services and customer innovation), with respect to their emerging business demands and needs. Use such benchmarks to set your own goals from 2024.  

2. Assess your current capabilities and capacity  

Evaluate your current IT infrastructure, skills, and processes. Understanding the gap between your current state and your AI aspirations is essential for a realistic strategy.  

This assessment should include data readiness, existing AI tools, and the team's AI skills. The MIT Sloan Management Review emphasizes the importance of data strategy in AI implementation, noting that organizations with advanced data strategies see 30% higher performance from their AI initiatives.  

3. Prioritize two key use cases  

Not all AI applications will be equally valuable to your organization. Prioritize the top two use cases for 2024 based on their potential business impact and technological feasibility.  

For IT service delivery, this could include AI-powered assistants for immediate end-user support, predictive analytics for infrastructure maintenance, or automated incident response systems. IDC forecasts that by 2024, 50% of IT organizations will prioritize AI-based IT operations technologies.  

4. Secure buy-in and budget  

Articulate the value of AI to business stakeholders across the organization, highlighting how AI initiatives will support broader business objectives to deliver impact. Secure the necessary budget and resources by demonstrating the ROI of proposed AI projects, using metrics from similar industry implementations as benchmarks.  

For instance, Deloitte's survey found that 63% of companies utilizing AI report it has increased their competitive advantage. A Microsoft-IDC report outlines that every $1 spent on AI can deliver 3.5X ROI. Lead with such ROI stories for new AI projects in IT.  

5. Develop or enhance AI skills  

Building or enhancing your team's AI capabilities is critical. This could mean hiring new talent, providing training for existing staff, or partnering with AI vendors.  

The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2025, AI and automation will create 97 million new jobs, underscoring the importance of skills development in these areas. Adopt an agile approach of working with upstarts over incumbent legacy vendors to AI implementation, starting with pilot projects for high-priority use cases identified based on your business needs.  

6. Foster an AI-first culture  

Finally, fostering an AI-first culture within your IT department and the broader organization is crucial for sustainable success. IT teams using and leveraging AI can outpace and innovate for their business needs.  

Encourage innovation, experimentation, and a mindset of continuous improvement in your organization. This cultural shift is vital for maximizing the benefits of AI in service delivery and supporting digital transformation.  

7. Monitor, measure, and optimize  

Once AI pilot solutions are in place, continuous monitoring and measurement against predefined KPIs are essential to evaluate whether to double down on it or not.  

This iterative process of optimization will ensure that your new AI initiatives remain aligned with changing business needs and AI ecosystem progress. This allows for iterative development, continuous learning, and adjustment based on real-world feedback.  

Following this seven-point AI strategy framework for IT can help leaders not only enhance their service delivery through AI but also position their organizations at the forefront of digital transformation.  

By adopting the AI-first approach with a clear strategy, CIOs and IT leaders can lead their IT departments through the Innovate and Transform journey in 2024. You can learn more about our State of AI in IT report for insights on how your peers are thinking about their 2024 plans. 

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