Nearly two-thirds of IT leaders claim that IT support is where the majority of their time is spent and over a third will focus on reducing time and resourcing on repetitive tasks in 2024.
To understand what IT leaders are prioritizing, Exclaimer commissioned a study of 250 senior IT professionals – including IT managers, directors, and CTO/CIOs – across the United States to get a pulse check on the existing challenges that are top of mind.
The recent economic challenges, together with continuous market and industry changes, have made it crucial for businesses to evolve to ensure growth. While this need spans all business areas, IT professionals in particular play a crucial role in future-proofing their organizations.
Currently, only 9% of IT leaders see their primary role as supporting business growth.
Primary role of IT department
These statistics show that there’s a clear need to reduce inefficiencies and find smarter ways to work to shift these preconceived mindsets.
By identifying key challenges, IT professionals are better placed to leverage new technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), to enhance productivity, improve security measures, and minimize repetitive tasks.
Among IT leaders, the most pressing challenges for their organizations are:
Breaking this down by seniority, 34% of IT managers identified reduced staffing resulting from budget cuts as their primary concern. Close behind were worries about security threats (33%) and the implementation of new technologies (29%).
In contrast, IT directors say that new technology implementation (42%) is their primary challenge, with compliance issues (36%) and security threats (33%) ranking closely behind.
CTOs and CIOs face a range of issues, with security threats, limited technology budgets, and slow response to market changes being the top concerns (34%). Implementing new technologies, acquiring and retaining IT talent, staying updated with industry trends, and managing reduced staffing due to budget cuts are also significant concerns (each at 23%).
IT department time spend
While the vast majority (93%) of IT leaders are confident in the overall knowledge and skills of their workforce, a surprising 59% say their IT departments still spend most of their time providing support for the wider organization. This is more than three times the time spent on protecting organizations from security threats and data analysis.
This figure becomes even more surprising when looking at the adoption rates of Artificial Intelligence (AI), with an overwhelming 46% of IT leaders claiming to be at an advanced state of AI adoption:
The confidence in having a skilled and adaptable IT workforce, coupled with the rates of AI adoption, indicates there are still opportunities to look for greater IT efficiencies to achieve organizational success and innovation.
Going into 2024, IT leaders are focused on:
Both CTOS/CIOs and IT directors are prioritizing incorporating AI into their operational framework. However, IT managers are focusing on enhancing security measures.
This suggests that CTOs and CIOs recognize the value of AI in driving efficiency, innovation, and revenue growth for their organizations.
Regardless of how IT departments plan to streamline their operations and enhance efficiencies, the top three preferred areas to dedicate newly freed up time are:
Barriers to self-service technology
Many organizations are looking to incorporate self-service technology that empowers end-users and reduces the burden on IT.
However, the adoption of self-service technology is hindered by several barriers. Technical limitations pose challenges in terms of implementation and functionality, while security risks demand safeguarding customer data. Cost is another obstacle as investing in self-service technology requires substantial financial resources.
For IT leaders like CTOs and CIOs, the fear of losing control (39.47%) when delegating tasks to self-service systems is a major concern. To overcome these barriers, strategic planning and innovative solutions are needed to maximize the benefits of self-service technology. This is increasingly evident as AI becomes more embedded in business operations. However, the adoption of AI technology comes with its own set of challenges. Of the IT leaders surveyed:
Barriers to self-service technology
The size of an organization also influences the perceived obstacles to adopting AI. IT leaders at companies with less than 1,000 employees see the primary barrier being the potential negative effects AI may have on the IT industry and its workforce. However, those with over 1,000 employees pinpoint to legacy technology being the main barrier to AI adoption.
Percentage automated processes
As IT departments aim to improve efficiencies, automation with AI is a key focus. Impressively, 31.2% of those surveyed have already automated 25-50% of their IT processes, saving valuable time in the process.
Those who are actively using AI, employ it across multiple business operations: 52.25% to automate everyday tasks, while 51.35% harness it within creative projects like generating sales documentation and social media content. Further uses of AI include:
The IT procurement process plays a crucial role in all of this, requiring strategic planning and careful consideration. It’s essential to ensure that the chosen technologies not only meet current needs but also allow for future growth and organizational changes.
When it comes to acquiring new technology, 60% of organizations prefer indirect procurement.
In the ever-changing digital landscape, the significance of IT cannot be overstated. By prioritizing strategic planning, efficient procurement, and the integration of innovative technologies, IT departments can reduce the time spent on IT support (59%) and focus on consistently driving growth and achieving remarkable success.
To maintain a competitive edge, IT departments must carefully select the most effective technology solutions to streamline manual processes. To help IT professionals focus on more strategic initiatives, solutions like Exclaimer help automate tasks and reduce overall time spent routine activities.
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