Salesforce Survey: 86% of IT Leaders See Key Role for Generative AI

Also, most say both business and IT stakeholders now understand how AI can be applied across the organization

Deborah Yao, Editor

July 20, 2023

2 Min Read
gorodenkoff/Getty Images

At a Glance

  • A Salesforce survey shows that 86% of IT leaders believe generative IT will pay a key role in their organization.
  • AI is now mainstream, with 78% saying both IT and business leaders know what role AI can play at their companies.

Generative AI entered the mainstream a mere six months ago, but 86% of IT leaders already said it will have a “prominent” role in their organizations in the near future, according to Salesforce’s latest ‘State of IT’ survey.

Their bullishness stems from a belief that generative AI can drive productivity, efficiency and innovation – even as two-thirds have ethical concerns in areas including accuracy, bias, toxicity, safety and privacy. Salesforce surveyed more than 4,000 IT leaders - half of whom are in the C-suite - in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

IT leaders also believe that their cross-functional partners on the business side of the company also now understand how AI can be applied in their operations.

Notably, 62% of IT leaders are worried about generative AI’s impact on their own jobs.

Generative AI tools can write, suggest and fix code at scale. These tools include GitHub Copilot, Replit, Amazon CodeWhisperer and others. Recently, a ChatGPT plugin called Code Interpreter let the chatbot execute code and it is able to perform data science as well.

AI is now mainstream

As for AI more broadly, it is a “rising star in IT,” the report said. While AI advancements are fast-changing, “it is no longer novel. As such, the majority of IT leaders (78%) can now articulate how AI can play a role in their organizations, even if they haven’t implemented it yet.”

Companies are “most likely” using AI in customer service as a first step. A prior survey by Salesforce found that AI adoption of customer service professionals grew by 88% between 2020 and 2022.

App development

IT departments are also seeing demand surge for apps, whether internal- or external-facing, as users want better digital experiences in real time.

“The answer to the familiar IT question of whether to build or buy software is ‘yes’” to both approaches, the report said. Around two-thirds of respondents buy software from vendors but they also devote staff to customizing that application.

Half develop custom applications in-house while 22% buy and use ‘off-the-shelf’ software.

Low-code, no-code tools commonplace

With soaring demand for IT services, 77% of IT departments are deploying low-code, no-code tools to be more efficient. These tools reduce the development time for software developers and also shift some of the work to business-side employees.

Currently, 46% of IT leaders say their departments use composable designs to increase efficiency. This means a department with a modular setup for technology and staffing that can be rearranged as needed depending on internal or external factors.

In the next 18 months, 43% plan to implement a composable strategy.

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Read more about:

ChatGPT / Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Deborah Yao


Deborah Yao runs the day-to-day operations of AI Business. She is a Stanford grad who has worked at Amazon, Wharton School and Associated Press.

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