Top 5 Questions on AI from Mid-Market CEOs (with Answers!)

Artificial Intelligence is here, but for many mid-market CEOs it raises strategic questions. In order to provide some clarity, we asked our IT leaders which questions they’re hearing most frequently.

Q. Is AI really going to make a meaningful difference to my business in 2024?

A. AI will continue to evolve, but most importantly 2024 is the year when vendors will enable AI in their existing products. The most high-profile example is Microsoft Copilot for Office 365, which puts AI at the fingertips of every ordinary knowledge-worker. In truth, for many mid-market businesses each use of AI will just offer incremental benefits, but gradually these will accumulate. And companies who are actively engaged in AI and reaping these benefits will gradually surpass those who do not, and 2024 will be the start of this process.

We’ll be discussing the opportunities specific to the mid-market in our upcoming webinar, ‘Real-world AI: webinar for mid-market CEOs’. Register here.


Q. My IT team want to buy Microsoft Copilot – how do I assess the ROI?

A. It’s like when word-processing replaced the typewriter: business leaders have to recognise that transformations have a price tag, and sometimes the benefits take time to identify and fully exploit. Copilot is an expensive investment if deployed at scale, but Copilot (or the Google equivalent) will boost productivity for many labour-intensive tasks. Thus it should be part of your AI strategy. Start with an assessment of your business in order to identify opportunities to use AI, each with its own strictly defined ROI.


Q. How can we overcome resistance to AI?

A. It’s right to acknowledge that there may be resistance to AI, but CEOs need to go beyond just overcoming resistance – they need to create enthusiasm and energy for change. Many of the opportunities in your organization will be created by junior members of the team, and they need to be empowered and inspired. Adoption of AI does mean top-down initiatives, but it also means a program of cultural change. Create engagement groups, demonstrate interest in AI and the opportunities, celebrate people across the business learning about or using AI. This will be the new dividing ground between innovators and Luddites.


Q. How do I make sure I’m not accidentally leaking private information or breaching someone else’s rights by using new AI tools?

A. You should simply never put private information into publicly accessible tools like ChatGPT, as this is effectively posting the information on the web. Similarly, you must not use AI to create content that, deliberately or unwittingly, incorporates another organization’s intellectual product.

Start by ensuring everyone in your company understands these issues and takes them seriously. Finally, create an AI usage policy (see the next question!).


Q. How can we ensure compliance and address ethical concerns related to AI?

A. The starting point is a clear and simple AI policy for your business. This will establish both best practice and compliance, and the rollout of the policy is an opportunity to engage everyone in your company. We have prepared a draft AI usage policy template that is free to use. It won’t replace legal advice, but it will get you started on a set of guidelines that both illuminates potential risks and provides a clear framework for problem-solving.

You can find more no-nonsense information about AI in our free report, Demystifying AI: a guide for mid-market CEOs. Or for a conversation about how AI can help your mid-market business, get in touch – as ever, we’re always up for a no-strings, no-pressure chat.

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