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More than 50% of organizations have an AI leader

A recent Gartner, Inc. poll of more than 1,800 executive leaders, revealed that 55% of organizations have an AI board. The poll also indicated 54% of organizations have a head of AI or an AI leader that orchestrates activities.

“The findings show that organizations are divided regarding if an AI board is necessary,” said Frances Karamouzis, Distinguished VP Analyst Gartner. “The answer is yes, enterprises need an AI board to transcend the multidisciplinary challenges to drive value and reduce risk. However, the duration, scope, and resourcing is context-specific and use-case dependent. For some, it’s a short-term, stopgap measure. For others, it’s a longer-term change to their operating model.

The poll included 1,808 respondents who participated in a Gartner webinar in June 2024 discussing how executive leaders can assess the cost, risk and value of AI and GenAI initiatives. Results of this poll do not represent global findings or the market as a whole.

AI Boards Must Have Clearly Defined Rules that Map Back to Business Remits
Accountability for AI is spread out. Additionally, some organizations are decentralized, siloed or unclear as to where AI initiatives should lie. When asked who is accountable for AI initiatives, only a quarter of respondents aligned to a clear role (see Figure 1).

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“AI board member composition should have representation from multiple disciplines and cross business units,” said Karamouzis. “It’s up to each organization to determine the best approach to drive speed and agility within their organization to ensure that the board does not get unwieldy and unproductive due to inability to meet or drive consensus.”

When asked to identify the top three focuses of the board remit, 26% of executives identified governance, and another 21% indicated strategy should be one of the primary focuses.

“The board member composition should align expertise with the scope of the remit,” said Karamouzis. “Board members should be senior level and seasoned executives with strong skills in strategy and execution, especially if they have GenAI ambitions.”

AI Leaders Are More Prevalent Among Organizations Than CAIOs
Of the 54% of executive leaders who indicated their organization had a head of AI, or an AI leader, 88% said that their AI leader did not have the title of chief AI officer (CAIO).

C-suite leaders take direction from their board of directors, and most boards do not want to expand the C-suite. Despite this, boards do want an AI leader who is responsible for AI orchestration.

“AI and GenAI are complex and far-reaching and touch every job, activity and strategic conversation in the organization,” said Karamouzis. “However, this does not mean that the people or team responsible for orchestrating AI at an organization have to have a title at the altitude of the C-suite.” IDC

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