Artificial intelligence (AI) has made its mark in every facet of life. Anyone anywhere can use ChatGPT or a similar tool to write video scripts, proofread text, and a lot more. In the world of work, companies use AI to improve customer service and perform a host of other internal business functions. Given the spread of AI today, it’s no wonder so many companies are hiring data-savvy leaders to help them leverage this new technology. 

Hiring a Head of AI seems like the logical next step for companies seeking to invest in the technologies of the future. And early signs suggest it’s much more than a passing trend. According to LinkedIn research, the number of companies with a Head of AI has multiplied 2.6 times in the last five years. Should your company be among them?

3 Considerations to Help You Decide If You Need a Head of AI

Whether you call it a Chief AI Officer (CAIO), Head of AI, or other similar title, it’s one of the hottest new leadership roles today. But deciding if the role is right for you isn’t so simple, especially considering how fast change occurs within your company and the world of AI. 

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind before you decide:

1. What you want your Head of AI to accomplish

Whether your company is creating a new AI-generated drink or using AI tools to better understand trends in how and what people eat, a Head of AI can help craft the strategy and bring it to life. However, before jumping in and making a hire, it’s essential to understand exactly what your Head of AI will do and how you’ll define and measure the success of the role.

What your Head of AI does won’t necessarily be the same as for other companies. As Beena Ammanath, executive director of the Deloitte AI Institute, recently described, “Unlike the traditional roles of chief marketing officer or even chief technology officer and chief information officer, [the role of head of AI] depends on the maturity of the organization, of what they want to do with AI, and where they are today.”

Depending on your organization and goals, you may rely on a Head of AI to perform any of the following:

• Work with R&D and marketing teams to create and launch new products informed by AI-powered data
• Incorporate AI into employee upskilling and reskilling programs
• Leverage AI to streamline the company’s value chain and predict new opportunities for efficiency
• Create a more personalized customer experience across company media channels

2. What kind of talent you need

Naturally, the Head of AI role hasn’t been around long enough for a “standard type” of AI leader to emerge. But given the potential for artificial intelligence to completely change and revolutionize how companies approach and solve business challenges, you’ll likely need a leader who stands comfortably at the intersection of AI technology, data, and business strategy.

As one business author and advisor explained in Forbes, a skilled AI leader possesses a deep understanding of the business AI landscape, strong machine learning and data science skills, and competencies in change management and leadership. However, before you take steps to make the hire, it’s a good idea to first take stock of the skills you already possess in-house. Instead of hiring a single person to fill the Head of AI role, you may have the option of utilizing and redirecting existing talent to help address your strategic AI needs.

3. Where your Head of AI will fit within your company structure

Deciding whether you need a Head of AI requires considering where the role will fit in the broader organization. By thinking through the role’s accountabilities, impact, and scope of influence, you’ll develop a clearer picture of the role and what you can accomplish with it.

In terms of reporting lines, it’s not uncommon to have the Head of AI role sit in the IT function. But that’s not your only option. According to Rodrigo Madanes, global AI leader at EY, putting AI under IT could “[limit] AI’s capabilities solely to that department rather than holistically incorporating it throughout the organization.” Depending on your company’s structure and AI goals, some alternatives might be to have the role report to the Head of Strategy, Chief Data Officer, or a product team.

Is An AI Head in Your Future?

If your organization is already using artificial intelligence technology to execute critical aspects of business strategy, chances are you may be overdue for a Head of AI. But whether you decide to hire today or wait awhile, be sure to consider what the role will look like in the day-to-day of your business, now and in the future.

ForceBrands offers end-to-end hiring solutions for all stages of growth. Whether you’re just starting to hire or are looking for the next step in your career, we’re here to help you be a positive Force that makes an impact.