How are IT leaders incorporating generative AI?

Generative AI has the power to revolutionise organisations by increasing efficiency and driving innovation. No longer a buzzword in boardrooms, research from McKinsey estimates that impact on productivity could add trillions of dollars in value to the global economy. 

Since its inception, generative AI—including ChatGPT, Bard and DALL-E 2—continues to advance at a rapid rate and organisations are no longer able to watch from the sidelines if they want to stay ahead of their competitors. Foundry’s inaugural 2023 AI Priorities Survey, which engaged 965 global IT decision-makers, revealed that 74 percent of organisations are either researching or piloting AI initiatives. 

According to the survey, whilst companies are dipping their toe into the world of AI, most haven’t reached the point of implementing AI technology enterprise-wide as yet; favouring a longer-term strategy. IT is the industry that is leading the way, however. Of all the business areas analysed, IT departments plan to invest the most in AI technology, compared to their counterparts in R&D, customer service, and marketing. 

Despite economic caution being exercised elsewhere, 85 percent of CIOs earmarking budgets solely for AI development, according to the Global CIO Report 2024. This commitment to investment demonstrates just how significant AI could be in reshaping industry and how today’s IT decision-makers are putting themselves front and centre in the fourth industrial revolution. 

Incorporating generative AI into workflows can empower CIOs and IT leaders to streamline operations, enhance analytics, personalise experiences, foster collaboration, and optimise decision-making, ultimately driving business success in today’s fast-paced digital environment. However, with great potential, comes a uniquely challenging landscape, in which IT leaders need to navigate substantial risks, particularly when it comes to IT security.

How are IT leaders utilising generative AI to their advantage?

Increasing employee productivity

Productivity stands as the primary objective for most IT leaders heading in 2024 and beyond, according to a research report by Glean. The report revealed that 55 percent of IT leaders say that increased employee productivity is among their top three objectives for adopting generative AI, with 20 percent saying it’s their top priority. One of the most impactful ways IT leaders are integrating AI into their work is through automating routine tasks. From managing system updates to troubleshooting common IT issues, AI-powered automation can streamline workflows, freeing up valuable time and resources for more strategic initiatives. By offloading repetitive tasks to AI algorithms, IT teams can focus their energy on high-value projects that drive business growth and innovation. 

Enhancing cybersecurity

Another avenue IT directors and CIOs are exploring is leveraging AI for enhanced cybersecurity—although with great care and consideration. With the growing sophistication of cyber threats, and the rise of remote work, AI-powered security solutions offer advanced threat detection capabilities, enabling IT teams to proactively identify and mitigate potential risks before they escalate into full-blown security breaches. By integrating AI-driven cybersecurity tools into their strategies, IT leaders can bolster their organisation’s defences and stay one step ahead of cyber attackers. However, that being said, the rise of generative AI can also arm cyberattackers themselves, who can use the technology to increase the accessibility, scale and maliciousness of cyber attacks. In the face of this, zero trust architecture and robust IT support has never been more vital.

Optimising IT infrastructure

AI can play a pivotal role in optimising IT infrastructure and resource allocation. Through predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms, IT directors and CIOs can gain valuable insights into usage patterns, performance trends, and capacity requirements. This data-driven approach allows for more efficient resource allocation, ensuring that IT resources are deployed where they’re needed most and minimising wastage. Whether it’s optimising cloud usage or fine-tuning network configurations, AI empowers IT leaders to make informed decisions that optimise infrastructure performance and drive cost savings.

Making informed decisions

By harnessing the vast amounts of data generated by their organisation’s systems and processes, IT directors and CIOs can uncover valuable insights that drive informed decision-making and strategic planning. Whether it’s identifying customer trends, predicting market fluctuations, or optimising supply chain logistics, AI-driven analytics enable IT leaders to extract actionable intelligence from data, empowering them to make more informed, data-driven decisions that propel their organisations forward.

So what does the future bring? It’s clear that generative AI is already significantly altering the role of the CIO and IT leader, who are crucial players in shaping the new reality across organisations big and small. As generative AI continues to reshape industries, education, security and responsible adoption practices will be paramount, alongside realising the potential of this transformation technology.

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