AI helps leaders optimize costs and mitigate risks

AI is dominating the mindshare of IT leaders this year and next, as 72% believe their organization will be using more AI in the next two to three years, according to Snow Software.

IT leaders priority

While AI may be the top priority for IT leaders for the foreseeable future, the report suggests that continued economic uncertainty around the globe is forcing CIOs to look for further cost savings, ways to reduce risk, embrace the power of platforms and more.

The excitement and curiosity around AI

The excitement and curiosity around AI – and the possibilities that come with it – have the industry buzzing. And the results speak for themselves. 32% of IT leaders said that integrating AI was the top priority in 2023, followed by reducing security risks (31%) and reducing IT costs (29%). In fact, 82% of IT leaders say they are completely prepared to leverage generative AI technologies, while 62% say they are seeing increased investments in emerging applications such as ChatGPT and Google Bard.

While there is increased enthusiasm for AI, economic uncertainty and the need for business agility may be prompting IT leaders to use AI to identify further productivity gains and operational efficiencies that contribute to their other priorities to reduce costs and minimize risk.

“There is no business as usual for IT leaders today,” said Alastair Pooley, CIO at Snow. “Between navigating challenging economic conditions and the emergence of game-changing technologies like generative AI, the role of IT is in flux. The results of our latest report demonstrate that IT leaders are focused on providing cost efficiencies and mitigating risk without hampering the innovation agenda of the business. However, IT leaders seem to lack the foundation of visibility required to strike the right balance for their organizations, as 67% of those surveyed said they believe the business is procuring more SaaS and cloud technologies than they are aware of. While many IT leaders are exploring AI capabilities within technology investments they already have, we’ve seen, time and time again, that comprehensive visibility and actionable insights are required to get the most out of your technology investments.”

Managing cost and risk have always been at the core of the CIO’s responsibilities but it is increasingly difficult for them to strike the right balance between investing in new technologies and maintaining regular business operations.

This year’s findings suggest that the struggle to spend or save is still raging on for CIOs. 75% of IT leaders report an increase in investment in security tools in 2023, while 69% report increases in SaaS and 67% in cloud infrastructure. However, these same IT leaders also reported overspending on cloud infrastructure (28%), cloud services (28%) and managed services (26%).

Searching for value in the data

67%f IT leaders believe that the business is buying more SaaS and cloud technologies than they are aware of, and 75% recognize the risk of these visibility gaps. However, there is no one reason for the visibility issues.

A mix of cybersecurity protocols (38%), lack of resources such as budget or employees (32%) and lack of skills in the IT organization (29%) are contributing. This may also be why IT leaders believe that they are overspending on the cloud more than other technologies.

82% of IT leaders believe that their role has changed drastically over the past few years. Learning new skills for a new technology (56%) and leadership and/or management (42%) were voted as the top two reasons for the changes this year. The findings suggest that AI’s impact is being felt on a more personal level for IT leaders.

A lack of visibility, the ongoing drive for further cost savings, cybersecurity concerns and more may be why 88% of IT leaders are moving towards platforms and away from point tools.

Cloud migration and digital transformation have dropped out of the top slots for IT leaders’ priorities for both 2023 and 2024. The findings may indicate that these trends are now seen as “business as usual” activities, a relatively large departure from this same time last year.

Don't miss