Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be the chief priority for IT leaders in 2024, with 67% of respondents indicating that they will have generative AI integrated into some or all processes within the next 12 months, according to a 2024 IT Outlook survey conducted by Rackspace Technology and VMware.
The survey, which garnered responses from 1,420 IT leaders, signifies that AI's impact is far from over. Just 1% of respondents report having no plans to utilise generative AI in 2024, a compelling indicator of AI's growing prevalence in diverse industries. AI is set to transition from a technical curiosity to being integral to accelerating business outcomes via the industrialisation of Responsible AI solutions.
Srini Koushik, President of Technology and Sustainability at Rackspace Technology, commented on this trend, "These results highlight a decisive shift in artificial intelligence from the technical curiosity and pilot programmes in 2023 to accelerating business outcomes through the industrialisation of Responsible AI solutions in 2024."
The surge in AI adoption is not limited to select domains. A significant majority (67%) of survey respondents anticipate having generative AI seamlessly incorporated into some or all processes in just 12 months. However, the promise of AI is not without challenges. The survey shows that 42% of participants consider demonstrating AI's value an obstacle, while 38% noted insufficient technological infrastructure support for AI, trailed by a lack of skilled IT talent (32%).
Moreover, the survey illuminated an ongoing evolution in firms' cloud strategies. Pervasive AI was acknowledged as the technology most likely to positively impact organisations over the next 12 months by 65% of respondents. Private cloud saw a projected rise of 4% in the next three years, while public cloud noted a smaller increase. Edge computing is also gaining prominence, with 30% of organisations foreseeing it as part of their IT infrastructure within a year.
Yet, as firms intensify their focus on AI and cloud, talent procurement remains an obstacle. A shortage of skilled workers was identified as the leading concern (69%) amongst survey respondents. Almost half (47%) of participants also predicted a need to pay more to fill critical roles, with the rapid progression of technology pegged as the main reason for escalating IT labour costs.
Reflecting on this challenge, Koushik added, "The sustained pace and magnitude of technology advancements in AI, Cloud, Security, and other technologies demand an adaptable workforce that embraces lifelong learning. This challenge underscores the need for a different workforce strategy that prioritises adaptability, problem-solving, and continuous learning in addition to the latest technical skills to keep pace and drive innovation forward."