CIOs Admit AI Is Investment Priority, Just Ahead Of Security, Cloud

Chief information officers (CIOs) at large organisations around the world have offered up their insights and attitudes towards growth prospects and technology trends over the next 12 months.

The insights came in a new IDC InfoBrief from managed network solutions provider Expereo, which sought information about the business opportunities, challenges, as well as priorities influencing global CIOs at 650 of the world’s largest companies.

The new report found a continued optimistic outlook from global CIOs for the 12 months ahead, mirroring a similarly positive outlook found in previous Expereo research – this time last year.

Business people meeting around table in office

Growth prospects

The new IDC report commissioned by Expereo highlighted the high growth expectations in the AI-era, as well as the key inhibitors to achieving these growth ambitions.

The good news is that the report found that global organisations are optimistic about their business outlook for the next 12 months, with 81 percent of technology leaders expecting to see moderate to high growth in this period.

And the research found that the role of technology in helping deliver that growth has reached new prominence, driven by the pace of AI adoption.

But the survey uncovered major obstacles that must be overcome for technology to fully enable growth priorities, notably the emergence of a short-term, opportunistic attitude to technology planning.

The research makes clear that the use of technology continues to drive business growth strategies over the next 12 months. The report found that 52 percent of global enterprises are expecting to see moderate growth and a further 29 percent are expecting high growth in the next year.

The survey revealed that a third of technology leaders (29 percent) state that growth (to increase revenue and/or expand into new markets, segments, and/or geographies) is in their top 3 priorities driving tech investments in their organisation

Top priorities

In addition, the top priority of technology leaders is now to contribute to business growth, as well as increased turnover.

But the need for short-term wins is putting growth ambitions at risk for many tech leaders, after the report found that only 22 percent of global enterprises have reached full digital maturity.

The report found that the reality for most global organisations, is that they are still working on “opportunistic and short-term digital plans with isolated and siloed digital excellences across IT and business units.”

In fact, a third (33 percent) of global enterprises admit to having a short-term focus, meaning digital strategy and initiatives are enterprise oriented but typically have a short lifespan.

And more than a quarter of global respondents say whilst the CEO supports digital initiatives, they do not work closely enough with technology leaders, putting digital transformation initiatives in jeopardy.

Growth challenges

Expereo’s IDC report also found a range of growth challenges, which include technical, economic and cultural factors.

When asked what the biggest risks or inhibitors are to their growth ambitions over the next 12 months, 38 percent of global respondents cited geopolitical issues as potentially affecting either their business or their technology providers.

This is followed by inflation (34 percent), economic uncertainty (32 percent), uncontrolled spending by lines of business (31 percent) and performance of networks / connectivity globally (30 percent).

When asked about serious challenges to executing the digital initiatives so as to deliver growth, IT integration complexity (41 percent), partners’ capabilities (40 percent), lack of regional expertise (35 percent) were identified.

Increased automation (49 percent), enhanced cost containment and efficiencies (44 percent), and greater innovation (39 percent are seen as key growth enablers.

AI importance

And the report found that AI is the number one technology investment priority globally, with 42 percent of respondents naming artificial intelligence as their number one technology investment priority.

This was narrowly ahead of security (37 percent) and cloud or multicloud networking/ connectivity (35 percent).

The survey found that 31 percent of respondents believe AI/ML will be critical to fulfilling business ambitions, while a further 60 percent say it will be important.

“This year’s Enterprise Horizons report brings encouraging news: there is a growing optimism about global growth, and the critical role of technology in driving this progress is widely acknowledged,” said Ben Elms, CEO at Expereo.

Ben Elms, chief executive officer at Expereo.
Image credit Expereo.

“Many organisations are eager to accelerate their journey toward the future through digital transformation, but the path forward remains a work in progress for many,” said Elms. “Bridging the gap between the fifth of global organisations that exhibit full digital maturity and the rest is imperative.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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