AI To Ease Unnecessary Software Burden On UK Businesses, Freshworks Finds

Understanding the New European Union AI Law

Amid pressure on IT budgets, Freshworks research shows IT managers are dealing with 160 percent more software than last year

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is touted as a possible solution for under pressure IT departments struggling to manage a huge increase in software applications.

In its annual “State of Workplace Technology” report, customer engagement specialist Freshworks found that despite a fluctuating market and tricky IT budget conversations, IT professionals in the UK have to manage 160 percent more software applications this year, when compared to last year.

The Freshworks report surveyed 2,000 IT professionals, split between 500 in the US and 500 in the UK, plus fewer numbers in Germany, France, Singapore, Australia/NZ, India, The Netherlands and and the United Arab Emirates.

Understanding the New European Union AI Law

AI saviour?

The Freshworks report found that UK businesses spend on average £2.7 million on software contracts a year.

And the survey also estimated that British firms could save nearly £450,000 each year if they reduced the IT spend to only include absolutely necessary software.

And the survey found that UK IT departments are managing 160 percent more software than last year.

Yet despite this, IT professionals only use one-fifth of the applications available to them daily (just 7 out of 34), compared to nearly half in 2022.

IT departments also putting efficiency first. They apparently rank ease of use and efficiency as top attributes of business software, ahead of feature suite, reliability and cost-effectiveness.

The survey found that IT professionals are also using AI to combat growing software complexity, automate workflows and boost efficiency.

Indeed the Freshworks survey found that 79 percent of IT professionals s report their organisations are already using AI, as it eliminates repetitive tasks.

Indeed, IT professionals agree AI frees up time otherwise spent on repetitive tasks (49 percent) and allows them to do more complex, meaningful work (45 percent).

Moreover, IT professionals estimate they could save more than five hours per week by using AI to complete repetitive tasks.

“I’ve had a front-row seat to the mobile and cloud revolutions, and witnessed how both delivered powerful efficiencies that enabled IT teams to improve performance – without expanding costs,” said Dennis Woodside, Freshworks president.

Dennis Woodside, Freshworks president.
Image credit Freshworks

“We’re already seeing customers like Smartsheet and Sony Music Entertainment who plan to harness AI to substantially improve employee service, while saving on costs from legacy software accrued over time,” said Woodside.

Management backing

And it seems as senior IT management are backing the overall market move into artificial intelligence, with the Freshworks survey finding that directors and above report higher use and organisational support for AI.

Indeed the survey found that:

  • AI use is generally encouraged at work. Seven in ten (70 percent) IT directors and above globally say that use of AI is actively encouraged by their company, compared to 44 percent of team leads/managers and 21 percent of individual contributors;
  • IT leaders are leading the way to adopt AI. More than nine in ten (91 percent) IT directors and above currently use AI to support their workload, compared to 66 percent of team leads/managers and 33 percent of individual contributors;
  • Youth AI movement. Newer generations are playing a pivotal role in AI adoption. Eight in ten (81 percent) of Millennial and 75 percent of Gen Z IT pros currently use AI to support their workload, compared to 57 percent of Gen X and 27 percent of Boomers.

“Business leaders adopt software for good reasons – to improve operations – but over time may face an unintended consequence of accruing more applications than they need,” said Prasad Ramakrishnan, CIO at Freshworks.

Prasad Ramakrishnan, CIO at Freshworks.
Image credit Freshworks

“Smart, simplified technology, paired with the power of AI, will do more to drive productivity and efficiency than legacy software has done in decades,” said Ramakrishnan. “IT leaders who embrace automation and technological agility to reduce complexity will be the ones whose teams come out ahead.”

The Freshworks survey comes after technology research firm Slalom earlier this month found 84 percent of businesses in the UK and Ireland had already begun using AI in some capacity.

Indeed nearly one quarter (24 percent) of businesses in the UK and Ireland are “confident” about artificial intelligence (AI) and are already using it broadly across their organisations, while 84 percent are using it in some capacity.