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A lack of board oversight for IT activities is dangerous

Rahil Sayed, Director-IT - Techyard Technologies

 

“Board is a formal construct that essentially provides governance for the company. Their duty, in a variety of formal and informal responsibilities, is to ultimately serve the best interest of the company.

 

A lack of board oversight for IT activities is dangerous; it puts the firm at risk in the same way that failing to audit its books would.

 

We have started taking initiative on board oversight by creating board-level IT committees similar to audit, compensation and governance committees. We also discuss how these committees can assist the our (CEO), and CIO’s, senior management and the BoD in driving technology decisions, keeping IT under control and developing competitive advantage.

 

Our Governance process assures IT is Integral to the strategic planning process and not disconnected or independent.

 

With all the excitement and hype about AI that’s “just around the corner”—self-driving cars, instant machine translation, etc.—it can be difficult to see how AI is affecting the lives of regular people from moment to moment. What are examples of artificial intelligence that you’re already using—right now?

 

In the process of navigating to these words on your screen, you almost certainly used AI. You’ve also likely used AI on your way to work, communicating online with friends, searching on the web, and making online purchases.

 

AI often sounds like some far-off science fiction concept, but it’s actually behind a lot of things you encounter in your daily life. Here’s the rundown: we train a software system with lots of examples so that it can pick up on patterns. Rather than telling the computer that all spam emails contain the phrase “new weight loss trick!,” you train it on millions of examples of spam, making small corrections until it can pick out the pattern on its own. This ability to learn patterns, called machine learning, makes your life easier in many ways few of our daily lives examples are Facebook uses AI to personalize your newsfeed and ensure you’re seeing posts that interest you

 

Presently, the cognitive computing landscape is dominated by large players like IBM, Microsoft, and Google. IBM, being the pioneer of this technology, has invested billion dollars in big data and analytics and now spends close to one-third of its R&D budget in developing cognitive computing technology. Moreover, many new companies are investing heavily in this technology to develop better products.

 

Goal of cognitive computing is to simulate human thought processes in a computerized model. Using self-learning algorithms that use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing, the computer can mimic the way the human brain works.

 

Nowadays, we can find many examples of the strides made by cognitive computing. Indeed, some organizations are deploying cognitive tools and using cognitive systems for product recommendations, pricing optimization, and fraud detection. Companies are also developing conversational AI platforms (in the form of catboats) for automated customer support, automated sales assistance, and decision augmentation.

 

Today’s silo-like IT function has transformed into an embedded and integrated business technology structure.

 

In practice, this means that leaders need to create collocated, cross-functional teams for agile development and effective collaboration of business and technology resources. These teams can develop, test, learn, and iterate far faster than teams that use the old practices.

 

We expect that most companies will choose to transform the IT department under the direction of the CIO with the help of the CDO. We also expect that the most effective CDOs will be temporary, completing their digital programs in three to five years and then transitioning to other responsibilities within their companies.

 

Information technology is at a crossroads and senior leaders need to respond in a coherent way that best serves the business. Leaders who want IT to retain its strategic role must transform it with an eye to agility, speed, and specialized skills.”

 

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