July 20, 2023
A majority of IT leaders can now articulate how artificial intelligence plays a role in their organization, even if they haven’t implemented it yet. This is according to the Salesforce State of IT report that surveyed more than 4,300 senior IT professionals across 28 countries. The report found that the adoption of AI among customer service professionals had risen by 88% between 2020 and 2022.
According to McKinsey, one-half (50%) of organizations used AI in 2022. Yet that figure is likely already outdated, with IDC forecasting global AI spend to increase a staggering 27% in 2023 alone. AI is a rapidly evolving technology, but it’s no longer novel.
However, 64% of IT leaders are concerned about the ethics of generative AI, and 62% are concerned about its impacts on their careers. They’ve also expressed worry over customer data as a result of implementing generative AI.
Insights by Paula Goldman, chief ethical and humane user officer at Salesforce, were part of the report.
Salesforce’s Paula Goldman
“At Salesforce, we take a three-pronged approach to mitigating these [AI] risks. First, by ensuring model safety and privacy. Second, we build trusted feature designs and architecture,” Goldman said. “And finally, we implement policy and use case safeguards. This includes carefully choosing what data we use to train our AI, red-teaming and assessing bias and toxicity before they impact customers, and building in risk mitigations directly into our generative AI technologies.”
AI and automation are paramount in propelling innovation, the study found.
IT Leaders Expect More Investment in Automation
When it comes to workflow and process automation, it is proving to be an invaluable tool to pursue efficient growth, the report said. It helps employees focus more on strategic innovation and less on repetitive tasks. Eighty-seven percent of IT leaders expect more investment in automation at their organizations over the next year and a half. Some workflows and processes are more automated than others, and the current state of automation leaves room for improvement, particularly for HR workflows.
IT departments using automation report an average of nearly two hours saved per week per employee, according to the researchers.
Security and Artificial Intelligence
In addition, investing in security remains a priority despite economic headwinds, company officials said. Approximately 89% of IT leaders cite security as a top priority, and data encryption is the No. 1 most-adopted enterprise security tactic. Yet, two in three (67%) IT leaders have trouble balancing business and security objectives.
Without proper precautions, bad actors could take advantage of particular weaknesses as human visibility into processes declines. Barriers include technical debt in the form of incompatible systems and inadequate budget and team capacity, as is identifying the right solution in an increasingly saturated vendor landscape.
More data and more systems enable innovation, improved customer experiences, and expanded business opportunities, Salesforce officials said. However, they also introduce new vulnerabilities that bad actors can exploit, a rising risk as artificial intelligence matures. Sixty-seven percent of IT leaders say they have trouble balancing business and security objectives. IT respondents are unlikely to classify any given threat as being anything short of a moderate concern, but are particularly worried about malware and phishing attacks, along with legacy systems designed for a less sophisticated threat landscape.
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