Future-proof your career, become an AI Business Director

Steve Hazelton
September 6, 2023
5 Minutes

About the Author

Most of this article was written by me, Steve Hazelton. I am one of the founders of a startup that helps businesses better serve their customers by using AI to identify risks and opportunities from the massive unstructured blob of data trapped in emails, chats, and phone calls (and more). I received help writing this article by using generative AI for data collection (if you don’t know what that means, you are not alone, go here).

Since I am the founder of a startup that relies heavily on AI to find happy and unhappy customers, I certainly have “bought-in” on the use of AI for business. Any business. So, consider yourself warned…(I also started my career a loooong time ago as a recruiter for tech companies, built and sold an HR tech company, and then started an AI company…so the intersection of AI and career advice really collide here).


Lost in this discussion of AI tech is the discussion of its impacts on our teammates and coworkers. What does the widespread adoption of AI in business mean for the careers of people who work at these businesses?

Note: There is, at present, endless discussion on the technology of AI (which I won’t bore you with here). If you are interested in learning about the different types of AI and AI tools, like Generative AI, Synth AI, Machine Learning, etc., you can read an article our co-founder wrote, here. Or, you can ask ChatGPT to explain it to you. Joel’s article will be better.

From a career standpoint, the biggest change our businesses will see this decade is the creation of a new, high-paying job, the AI Business Director. This article will help you, the reader, define this role when you decide to hire this person, or if you desire to be that person, how to create the role in your company.

Very briefly, this person will be responsible for leveraging AI tools and products to improve a business's top and bottom-line revenue. They’ll find revenue opportunities, prevent cancellations or churn, and make people more efficient.

We are at the beginning of a major, major shift in employment. Fifty years ago, did companies have an IT Manager? Thirty years ago, did they have an Ecommerce Manager? Ten years from now, will they have an AI Manager? Of course, they will.

Adoption is inevitable because the gains are too great. For example, this company achieved 100% customer retention of their “Top 100” last year, here.

With that out of the way, let’s get started.

The Role of an AI Business Director 

As businesses continue to embrace AI technologies, the need for dedicated professionals to oversee these systems will become critical. This is where the role of the AI Business Director steps in.

“How can we use tomorrow’s tools to solve our problems today?”  At its core, this role is creative: you need to think of new ways to solve old problems in ways that have never been done before. The AI Business Director is a key player responsible for the development, implementation, and management of AI strategies.

The AI Business Director should be able to create and implement an AI strategy that answers the following:

How can we use AI to find revenue opportunities?”
How can we use AI to identify and reduce revenue risks?”
How can AI make our teammates more efficient?”

This multifaceted role requires a deep understanding of AI vendors, data privacy, and a visionary mindset to leverage AI's potential effectively. Note: This job does not require coding, nor should it. This person isn’t building AI, they are identifying the areas where AI can, and will, improve business performance.

Let's take a closer look at the responsibilities of this job:

Strategy Development:What problems are we trying to solve?”  The AI Business Director collaborates with various departments to identify areas where AI can be integrated to capture risk and opportunities or to improve efficiency. They create a comprehensive AI strategy aligned with the business's overall objectives. 

Data Discovery: While everyone talks about how to use data in AI, perhaps the more compelling question is, “What data could AI illuminate that we’ve previously been unable to use?” For example, an AI Systems Director could use emails to create a new data stream that correlates customer product confusion with unhappiness and eventual cancellation (hmm, can anyone do that yet? I think so!). 

Data Management: “What are the security, privacy, and regulatory challenges with our approach." AI heavily relies on quality data to make accurate predictions and decisions. The Director ensures that data is collected, cleaned, and stored securely. This person should be able to deep-dive into a prospective vendor’s privacy and regulatory compliance.

Implementation: “What systems will we need to leverage, and how will we accomplish this?” Once the AI strategy is in place, the Director oversees the implementation of AI projects, ensuring seamless integration with existing systems and addressing any technical challenges that arise. Just as important, this person will need to drive the “people-side” integrations and help people to leverage these new data streams. 

Performance Monitoring: “What are the success criteria?” Monitoring the performance of AI systems is critical to their success. The Director tracks key performance indicators to measure the impact of AI applications and makes adjustments as needed. Critical here is to answer, “Is this driving the desired outcomes?”

Ethical Considerations: “Should we even use AI for this?” Some AI systems handle sensitive data and make very consequential decisions. The Director needs to be able to think this through and make a case. We feel a key distinction is the decision-making process, “Is the AI making decisions?” If “yes," then a lot of thought should be put into whether or not AI is appropriate. 

Growth of AI Jobs

According to a study conducted by the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that AI will create 58 million new jobs by 2024. This includes a wide range of roles, from data scientists and AI engineers to, of course, AI Business Directors.

As more companies recognize the potential of AI and seek to stay competitive in the market, the demand for AI professionals is set to skyrocket. A survey conducted by Deloitte further reinforces the growing importance of AI in businesses. It revealed that around 61% of surveyed companies have already implemented some form of AI into their operations. That means 61% of respondents are looking to hire an AI Business Director if they haven’t already. Don’t get left behind. 

Where to Start

If becoming your company's AI Business Director seems like too much, don’t be discouraged if you don’t have experience. Very, very few people do. Get started now and you’ll be far ahead of everyone else.

Where would I start? I would look at my current role and think, “How could AI help my current company keep customers longer? Or, how could AI make my group more efficient?”

What problems are we trying to solve?”
What data could AI illuminate that we’ve previously been unable to use?
What are the security, privacy, and regulatory challenges with our approach.”
What systems will we need to leverage, and how will we accomplish this?” 
What are the success criteria?”
Should we even use AI for this?” 

Get on it! Also, if you’d like more help, download our “AI for Business Strategic Plan”, here.

As I was writing this article, a friend sent me a job description for a “Head of AI Product Management” at a major online streaming company. It pays 900k/year. Hmmm…

As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to reach out to us to talk further.

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