IT Leaders Struggle to Balance AI Investments with Immediate Goals

Dell’s study shows that GenAI and AI will transform industries, but half the respondents are uncertain about AI’s industry impact.

Despite the strong momentum towards deploying AI and Gen AI tools to enhance efficiencies within organizations, global technology leaders still appear to be grappling with balancing their AI investments with immediate and long-term goals. In a recent study by Dell Technologies Innovation Catalyst Research, 95% of Indian respondents noted that Gen AI and AI will significantly transform industries in the future.

However, nearly half (47%) of the respondents are uncertain about what their industry will look like in the next three to five years, and almost six in ten (57%) report struggling to keep pace. They cite challenges such as the lack of the right talent (43%), concerns about data privacy and cybersecurity (35%), and a shortage of budget (34%) as hurdles they face in driving innovation.

The study aligns with CIO&Leader’s Annual State of Enterprise Technology Survey, which revealed that Indian enterprises are primed to boost their AI investments in 2024, driven by successful projects and tangible benefits. Enterprises are looking at leveraging AI and Gen AI for actionable insights and improved decision-making (81%), enhanced customer interactions (75%), and more precise market demand forecasts (72%).

Focusing from ideation to implementation

According to Dell’s report, respondents cite GenAI’s transformative or significant potential to deliver value in improving IT security posture (74%), productivity gains (73%), and to improve customer experience (76%). They are also aware of challenges to overcome. Sixty-eight percent fear GenAI will introduce new security and privacy issues, and 89% agreed that their data and IP are too valuable to be placed in a GenAI tool to which a third party may have access. As organizations increase adoption, concern centers around understanding where risks reside and who is responsible for them. Ninety-three percent agree that the organization, rather than the machine, the user, or the public, is responsible for any AI malfunction or undesired behavior.

Cybersecurity as a key challenge

Cybersecurity remains a key challenge, as 89% of respondents say they have been impacted by a security attack in the past 12 months. The majority (89%) are pursuing a Zero Trust deployment strategy and 90% say they have an Incident Response Plan in place to recover from a cyberattack or data leakage. The top three cited issues included malware, phishing, and data breaches. Issues with phishing are indicative of a wider problem highlighted in the report, which is the role employees play in the threat landscape. For example, 84% of respondents believe some employees go around IT security guidelines and practices because they delay efficiency and productivity, and 65% say that insider threats are a big concern. This indicates a need to focus on training, as employees are the first line of defense.

Modern data infrastructure and other key findings

In addition to cybersecurity concerns, the research reveals the critical role of modern data infrastructure as technologies like GenAI gather pace and data volumes increase. Investing in a modern, scalable infrastructure was cited as the number one area of improvement for businesses to accelerate innovation.

Most IT decision makers (73%) prefer an on-prem or hybrid model, to address the challenges they foresee with implementing GenAI. The ability to share data across the business is also a key part of the innovation puzzle, with only 1 in 3 (33%) saying they can turn data into real-time insights today to support innovation efforts. However, responses suggest organizations are acting on this challenge, with 94% saying that data is the differentiator and their GenAI strategy must involve using and protecting that data. Almost half (42%) also claim they anticipate that the bulk of their data will come from the edge in the next five years.

Talent shortage derail innovation

Other research findings include a perceived shortage of talent required for innovation in their industry (67%), with learning agility and desire, AI fluency, and creativity & creative thinking ranking as the top skills and competencies for the next five years.

56% believe “driving environmentally sustainable innovations” is an important improvement area, with a focus on energy efficiency. Ninety-five percent experiment with as-a-service solutions to manage their IT environment more efficiently, and 91% actively move AI inferencing to the edge to become more energy efficient (e.g., smart buildings). Currently, 81% of business decision-makers have reasons to exclude IT decision-makers from strategic conversations, yet both departments ranked a stronger relationship as the second most important improvement area.

Image by Freepik

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