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IT leaders all in on AI to improve employee and customer experiences

Zendesk data signals AI has surfaced as a primary focus, with 84% of IT leaders emphasizing its increased importance

Published October 23, 2023

After years of economic uncertainty and rapid technology changes, IT leaders have significantly shifted their priorities. They’re redirecting investments towards implementing AI to improve both employee and customer experiences, and prioritizing data privacy and security. Strong competitive headwinds, mounting customer expectations, and new AI tools are all contributing to changing priorities. IT teams are also being asked to deliver more with fewer resources

Here’s more from our newly released Global IT Report:

AI will transform CX, but also brings challenges
IT leaders recognize we’re in the middle of an AI revolution that’s set to make big changes everywhere, especially in the customer experience (CX) industry. Our report shows that 80% of them plan to boost their budgets for AI within a year, and 89% believe it’s important to use AI throughout the customer journey.

But implementing AI will come with challenges. Even though AI is helpful in the workplace, especially for customer service, IT leaders agree that there are big gaps in putting it into action. In fact, nearly 60% say they’re worried about keeping up with the fast-changing AI landscape.

Zendesk data also tells us AI’s primary role will be to function alongside humans, so its essential employees adapt to working in tandem with AI. Cultivating AI literacy will be paramount for businesses, especially for those aiming to stay competitive, increase productivity, and avoid equity gaps.

IT is leaning heavily into CX and EX
Our report shows the factors driving IT leaders to reconsider their priorities. Specifically, 70% of them indicate a high level of pressure from other teams to make choices that will improve the experience for customers. Moreover, 57% said improving employee experiences is highly important in the next 12 months. Modern companies are investing more of their budgets in generative AI tools that create efficient employee processes and deliver measurable results.

Cybersecurity and data privacy are top of mind
Also at the top of IT’s priority list are data privacy and security. In fact, a near consensus (87%) of IT leaders we surveyed said their attention to this area has increased in the last three years. Businesses are changing their approach to data privacy and security for several reasons, including a higher risk of cyber attacks, increasing demands from customers, and new strict laws about data privacy.

As these pressures grow, IT leaders are looking for more help. Seventy-nine percent also said that their current CX software could do more to address cybersecurity. Policies and tools that foster customer and employee trust are vital, along with systems that secure the growing amounts of data being stored due to increased personalization.

For a more comprehensive understanding of these challenges, read the full Global IT Report.

Methodology
The methodology of this report was based on a global quantitative survey of 1,200 IT leaders and in-depth interviews. Survey participants were professionals holding VP or C-level titles at enterprise-sized businesses with 1000+ employees. In-depth interviews were carried out in May 2023.

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