Pick any tech trend that takes business by storm\u2014the Internet, smartphones, mobile applications\u2014and what initially started as hype, which we now recognize is vastly understated. Today, you could add generative AI to that list.\n\nAs organizations scramble to incorporate GenAI into their portfolios, industry experts are calling for corporate boards to appoint a leader who can command these critical technologies.\n\nI'm of course talking about a chief AI officer, or CAIO. Ideally, the CAIO will stay abreast of emerging AI technologies, cultivate an AI strategy, and ensure that AI implementations align with business goals. These articles further enumerate the role\u2019s considerable remit.\n\nYou may be thinking: The C-suite already feels like Times Square on New Year\u2019s Eve. The last thing we need is another officer. And that\u2019s a fair point.\n\nYet the CAIO position merits serious consideration because GenAI\u2019s rise has democratized AI capabilities across business lines\u2014in every organization.\n\nBefore GenAI there was\u2026AI\n\nMost of your IT organizations have probably been using some form of AI software for years. Various smart apps may automate tedious tasks, anticipate patterns in supply chains, logistics, and operations, and even protect your data from malicious actors.\n\nIn fact, well before OpenAI opened the floodgates with ChatGPT almost a year ago, Gartner forecasted the worldwide AI software market would top $135 billion by 2025. Such software runs the gamut between SaaS analytics tools business users can consume to more sophisticated machine learning technologies data scientists and other staff with special training in algorithms use to make predictions.\n\nWith GenAI, anyone can consume AI tools to create content. And because those tools are so user-friendly, they will become pervasive throughout enterprises and will most likely transform virtually every business process served by content.\n\nThis makes the total addressable market vastly larger than Gartner\u2019s pre-GenAI figures. McKinsey, for one, estimates GenAI will add 2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion of economic value to the global economy. That covers 63 use cases across everything from sales and marketing to customer operations and software engineering.\n\nThe financial stakes alone warrant a discussion about whether your organization should install a CAIO.\n\nCentralize vs. distribute\n\nReasonable people have argued that the pervasiveness of AI in businesses means you should not centralize management vis-a-vis an AI Center of Excellence or even a leader to steer AI tech initiatives. That doing so would stymie innovation because AI is proliferating so rapidly. These folks believe in distributing AI across business lines, with each group dictating use cases and rules.\n\nWhy would you not let a thousand flowers bloom, the thinking goes. That may (or may not) have served businesses well before, but GenAI flips the script because of its ability to democratize access to content creation and business insights. A thousand flowers? More like the Gardens of Versailles.\n\nGenAI changes the equation because of the risks it courts ushering in \u201cshadow AI\u201d that leaves enterprises susceptible in ways that their C-suite leaders cannot fully anticipate. The Big One: Data leakage of sensitive IP, which could become someone else\u2019s IP if it finds its way into a public GenAI system.\n\nThanks in large part to GenAI, the centralization approach appears to be gaining traction, as 80% of 500 IT decision makers have centralized AI decision making or even created a COE, according to a Dell Technologies survey of 500 IT decision makers.\n\nMake room in the C-suite\n\nOf course, the flip side to the CAIO argument is that businesses simply don\u2019t need one.\n\nGartner\u2019s Peer Community members\u2019 complaints range from concerns about swelling executive ranks (too many cooks in the kitchen) to the argument that AI should remain decentralized.\n\nTo those people, I say this: With traditional AI solutions driving decision-making in the back of the house and new GenAI tools augmenting work in the front of the house organizations no longer have the luxury of leaving the garden unattended.\n\nAt best, your organization will potentially miss out on building business value. At worst, it\u2019s bad risk hygiene for your data and your IP.\n\nA CAIO would hammer out a strategy for consuming both GenAI and traditional AI, instituting policies and guardrails that align business usage with acceptable risks.\n\nIdeally, the individual would ensure that the organization brings AI to its data, capitalizing on real-time insights while safeguarding IP. And taking the lead in identifying and eliminating algorithmic bias.\n\nInstalling a CAIO may be the best move for mitigating business risk you\u2019ll ever make. Doesn\u2019t that prospect alone warrant serious consideration?\n\nLearn how Dell Generative AI Solutions help you bring AI to your data.