Automation and AI continue to be critically important to enterprise IT, according to the Salesforce 2023 State of IT Report.
The report highlights how IT leaders are adapting their strategies to meet rising business demands amid app proliferation, security threats, and advancements in artificial intelligence.
The global survey of more than 4,000 IT professionals found that while 74% expect near-term demands on IT to grow, developments in automation and AI are seen as viable solutions. In fact, 86% of respondents said they expect generative AI to play a major role at their organizations soon.
Among the other key findings in the report:
- Security threats continue to be top of mind. Over two-thirds (67%) of IT leaders report having trouble balancing security and business objectives.
- IT teams focus on operational efficiency. 62% of IT organizations have trouble meeting business demand.
- Sustainability is on the IT agenda. 79% have set greenhouse gas reduction goals, with 87% confident in their ability to track and report emissions.
IT Teams Are Under More Pressure Than Ever Before
"For a while now, IT departments have been feeling increased pressure to keep up with demand and changing operating environments," John Kucera, senior vice president of product management at Salesforce, told ITProToday.
Kucera noted that the report found that only 26% of all organizations say they can support all development requests they currently receive. With workflows expected to only increase over the coming years, Kucera said there is a glaring issue with system and application integration that is critical for both customer and employee experience that must be addressed.
More automation could be one solution to the challenge. The report found that the vast majority (87%) of IT leaders plan on investing more in automation over the next 18 months.
There is also additional reason for IT optimism. Over two-thirds (69%) of IT leaders reported that over the next 18 months they will have budget increases. Nearly all (89%) note they will be focused on operational efficiency. That said the report found that a lack of alignment between IT and other departments hinders prioritization of valuable initiatives, with only 35% of IT leaders reporting complete alignment of key performance indicators (KPIs). Salesforce suggests that improved coordination between various departments is needed to enhance project success metrics.
The Future Is AI
While Salesforce's State of IT report found strong interest among IT leaders in generative AI, it also found that there are still some concerns.
Sixty-four percent of IT decision-makers are concerned about the ethical implications of the technology, and 62% express worry about its potential impact on their careers.
"Come next year, we would like to see a dramatic change in the comfortability of utilizing generative AI solutions," Kucera said. "AI is here to stay. Low-code tooling like Prompt Studio will drive the democratization of generative AI, creating higher trust with services such as Einstein Trust Layer that addresses business concerns like data privacy and security as well as toxicity and bias."
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.