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A new Salesforce survey has revealed that artificial intelligence and automation will be key drivers for enterprise IT teams as they face the growing demands of a turbulent macroeconomic environment.
THE research, conducted between February and April 2023, involved 4,000 IT decision makers from North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Europe. It examined the mindsets, top priorities and pain points of these leaders in today’s business conditions and found the urgent need to drive efficiency and productivity, with artificial intelligence and automation at play.
The findings highlight the pivotal role that artificial intelligence, including generative AI, could play in streamlining IT operations in the near future.
As customer and business needs evolve, IT leaders charged with setting stakeholders for future success are racing to better meet expectations while demonstrating value. However, the stakes are so high that nearly two-thirds (62%) of them are struggling to meet business needs.
What’s even more concerning is that these numbers are only expected to grow, with 74% of respondents expecting claims to increase further over the next 18 months.
“IT departments continue to be asked to do more with less, save costs, deploy products faster, and deliver better customer and employee experiences. So it’s imperative that CIOs and IT leaders focus on operational efficiency and process excellence,” said Param Kahlon, EVP and GM of automation and integration at Salesforce. “This way, teams will be more productive and achieve business success moving forward.”
AI and automation to the rescue
While AI and automation have been helping businesses for some time, today’s IT needs position the technologies squarely for mainstream adoption. In the survey, 78% of IT leaders said the role of AI in their organization is already well established, with top uses such as optimizing service operations, new AI-powered products, customer service analytics and customer segmentation.
Respondents said automation can save them an average of 1.9 hours per week per employee. They are automating workflows including order management, IT operations management, IT service management, IT asset management and customer service.
According to IT leaders, generative AI, a key part of mainstream AI, is expected to be a major driving force behind these applications. A separate poll conducted in March suggested that 57% of IT leaders viewed generative AI as a “game changer” with the potential to improve customer and employee experiences alike. The latest research shows that sentiment has gotten stronger, with 86% of IT leaders now expecting Generative AI to play a prominent role in their organizations in the near future.
Notably, the vast majority of them even suggested that their staff and business stakeholders have a clear understanding of how it can be used effectively.
Reservations on AI and automation
Even though AI and automation are both well on their way to addressing the challenges facing IT teams, there are also many reservations associated with them.
For example, the survey found that nearly 64% of IT leaders are concerned about the ethical implications of generative AI, while 62% remain wary of its potential impact on their careers. Similarly, automation has been found to be associated with hurdles including security and privacy issues, compatibility of legacy systems, inadequate budget, competing priorities/lack of team capabilities, and difficulty finding the right technology.
To date, only 42% of IT leaders are satisfied with the state of automation in their organization. And 87% expect more investments in the area in the next 18 months.
Meanwhile, IDC forecasts global spending on AI will increase by 26.9% in 2023 alone.
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