Changing customer needs, AI, automation, and security key to shifting business priorities: Salesforce State of IT report

Salesforce’s new State of IT Report, released last week, highlights the key priorities and pain points of businesses, based on a survey of over 4000 IT leaders worldwide, including 200 in Canada.

The surveyed group zeroed in on the need to recalibrate IT to adapt to the increasingly volatile economic conditions as well as rapidly changing business and customer needs.

Source: Salesforce

As a matter of fact, a walloping 84 per cent of IT leaders say their departments need to better address changing customer expectations, while 82 per cent affirm departments need to demonstrate better business value.

At the same time, they are challenged to drive efficiency, enable productivity, and modernize their tech stacks. Many are also focused on connecting tools and systems (87 per cent), modernizing legacy systems (86 per cent), as well as realizing cost savings (84 per cent).

But over 60 per cent of IT leaders say they are unable to keep up with business demands, KPIs are being refocused on ROI, speed, and customer satisfaction. 

Source: Salesforce

Alignment with other departments is also a key goal and challenge, with only 35 per cent of IT leaders saying their performance metrics are completely aligned with those of other departments. Supply chain, retail, and healthcare are found to have the most aligned IT and business metrics.

Further, the report shows that the majority of IT leaders can now articulate how AI can play a role in their organizations, even if they haven’t implemented it yet. Most are putting it to work in process automation and customer service settings. Interestingly, IT departments using automation report an average of 1.9 hours saved per week per employee, the study revealed. 

Source: Salesforce

Over 86 per cent of IT leaders also believe that generative AI, which continues to mushroom across industries, will have a prominent role at their organization in the near future, but concerns about its risks are as high. Over 60 per cent of IT leaders are concerned about the ethics of generative AI, and 62 per cent are concerned about its impacts on their careers.

Moreover, the report shows that demand for application development is soaring, but only one-quarter (26 per cent) of IT departments are able to support all requests. Consequently, 77 per cent of IT departments are leveraging low-code, no-code tools, as well as composable strategies, in order to streamline the development timelines.

But while apps proliferate across an enterprise, the lack of connectivity between them is a growing problem, the report reveals. Eighty percent of IT leaders say that integration challenges have slowed down digital transformation initiatives. They also expect to spend an average of US$4.7M per year on custom integration efforts, which is 31 per cent higher than their estimate of US$3.6M in 2022.

Security continues to be a key challenge for businesses, with nearly 70 per cent of IT leaders noting that they have trouble balancing business and security objectives.

But even amid economic headwinds, IT teams continue to make key investments in an array of tactics to fight against bad actors. Nearly 90 per cent expect increased security investments over the next 18 months.

Source: Salesforce

As data privacy regulations evolve and grow more stringent amid the expanding threat landscape, IT leaders are also focusing on compliance. Over 85 per cent say they are fully aware of and compliant with applicable regulations.

Other key focus areas for IT leaders as per the report include:

  1. Sustainability – Seventy-nine percent of IT leaders say their organizations have set greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, 91 per cent of which they believe they’re on track to meet. 
  2. DEI efforts – Eighty-seven per cent of IT departments have DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) recruitment and retention efforts, which 64 per cent say are very effective.

Read full report here. (Registration required)

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Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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