It hardly needs saying: The world has changed significantly since 2020. Remote work, the introduction of ChatGPT, ever-increasing security threats — it’s all had a profound impact on IT.
To understand exactly how IT priorities have changed, Zendesk conducted a global survey of 1,200 IT leaders and found that half of those surveyed said their teams are under pressure to deliver more with fewer resources.
So, in light of these internal and external changes, what are IT’s current priorities? According to the survey, the top three are:
- Strengthening cybersecurity and data privacy measures (63%)
- Enhancing the customer and employee experience (CX and EX) (60%)
- Improving their use of data and insights for the business, including AI (59%)
Let’s take a look at each of these in a bit more detail.
Data security and privacy
This is top of mind for IT leaders — almost nine in 10 (87%) said that investing in cybersecurity and data privacy are high priorities, and nearly the same percentage (88%) said they expect to increase their cybersecurity budget over the next 12 months.
The push to personalize customer and employee interactions along with the increase in remote work has increased the already large volume of sensitive data that companies must securely and properly manage. In fact, two-thirds (66%) of respondents said that data privacy and protection regulations were placing limits on what they could accomplish with personalization.
In 2024, IT must ensure that policies and tools create trust for customers and employees, while continuing to ensure that sensitive data remains compliant, protected, and encrypted.
Customer and employee experience
A large majority of respondents (86%) said that improving the customer experience has become a higher priority in the last few years. But, notably, so has improving the employee experience (EX), according to the same percentage of respondents — more engaged employees means improved business outcomes. IT leaders see a similar vision for each – seamless personalized experiences, enhanced by AI, all using secure and private data.
Businesses, however, are having a hard time ensuring personalization is secure. Nearly eight in 10 (79%) say that vendors aren’t providing customer experience software that fully addresses the associated cybersecurity challenges.
Sensitive, personal data about customers is highly regulated, so organizations need to take control. They need customer experience tools that take advantage of AI while also providing security and data privacy controls that can help them protect data and remain compliant.
In November 2022, ChatGPT set the world on fire by demonstrating the potential of generative AI. Understandably, 84% of respondents said that deploying and optimizing AI has increased significantly in importance. But the rate of advancement has concerned many leaders, with 58% of those surveyed saying they’re worried about their organizations’ ability to keep up with the technology’s rapid evolution.
But AI is critical all across the customer journey, including the customer experience, according to 89% of respondents, so despite concerns, eight in 10 say their organizations will increase budgets to accommodate generative AI.
Given how powerful and useful AI — and generative AI, especially — can be for improving the customer experience, organizations shouldn’t be shy about seeking help from trusted third parties to cover skill and knowledge gaps.
Zendesk’s full report explores the three top areas IT leaders are prioritizing, along with strategic recommendations on how to realize these changes in order to stay ahead. Read the report.