Home > Insights From the IT Trends Report 2024 — AI: Friend or Foe?

Insights From the IT Trends Report 2024 — AI: Friend or Foe?

Cover image of the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2024

Artificial intelligence. It’s been on the lips of tech professionals and the general public ever since ChatGPT took the world by storm in 2022. This powerful technology promises to enhance the lives of IT professionals by ushering in a golden age of automation, but does it threaten to cause as many problems as it solves?

To gauge the IT industry’s perception of AI today, SolarWinds has launched the IT Trends Report 2024 —AI: Friend or Foe? We surveyed nearly 700 technology professionals from global enterprises, both big and small. Directors, senior managers, VPs, and staff members in development, IT ops, and IT service management all had their say. Their answers reveal a tension in the industry’s outlook on AI. While many are enthusiastic about its ability to boost productivity, concerns regarding data quality, security, regulation, and other factors remain. Let’s explore the findings.


From Optimism to Investment

There’s no doubt about it: the IT industry is excited about AI. Today’s IT environments are more complex than ever, and the sheer quantity of data they generate has become increasingly difficult for humans to manage alone. AIOps (artificial intelligence for IT operations) is seen as an essential tool to help teams handle the intricacies of software-driven infrastructure.

Strong investment indicates that industry leaders are confident in AI’s potential to drive productivity. Nearly nine in ten (88%) of companies surveyed have either adopted AI or plan to do so. Significant financial commitments are being made, with 65% of respondents’ organizations spending over $5 million and 31% investing $25 million or more. Despite these figures, 56% of IT professionals who responded desire even more spending on AI, and 46% want their organization to implement AI faster. Another 46% of surveyed tech professionals report increased efficiency as the main driver for investment in AI, surpassing data analysis (22%), cost savings (20%), and predictive decision-making (12%). The AI revolution in the IT industry is picking up pace.

Data Doubts

However, industry perceptions of AI may be more nuanced than all this investment suggests. Nearly half (47%) of IT professionals surveyed have had negative experiences with AI, with privacy concerns (48%) and security risks (43%) the primary issues encountered. It’s become cliché to state that artificial intelligence is only as good as the data it’s trained on (“garbage in, garbage out”), but trust in the quality of the data that underlies AI systems remains somewhat shaky. Algorithmic errors, cited by 40% of those surveyed who have had negative AI experiences, can be traced back to issues around data quality. Many IT professionals surveyed report uncertainty about AI's decision-making and the extent of human oversight needed. The fact that more than half (54%) of respondents support government regulation to combat misinformation suggests that IT professionals are no under no illusions as to the negative potential of AI if poorly governed.

Frameworks for Success

Organizations are finding ways to leverage AI’s benefits while avoiding pitfalls. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents’ organizations have developed internal frameworks to navigate the challenges of AI integration. SolarWinds is no different. Our AI by Design principles are crafted to ensure our customers develop a trusting and sustainable relationship with our AI-driven solutions. These principles address several misgivings the IT Trends Report 2024 revealed.

Our Privacy and Security principles implement advanced access control protocols and sophisticated anonymization strategies to maximize the safety of user data at all stages. The Accountability and Fairness principle places human oversight and continuous feedback at the core of our strategy to refine our systems continuously in the name of responsible AI. We create safeguards and parameters to carefully monitor our systems, implement feedback to continuously improve performance, and keep a human in the loop to help ensure that the responses generated by our AI systems are effective, relevant, and useful.

Shaping the Future of AI

Given its promise to transform how we manage complex IT environments, the future looks bright for artificial intelligence in the IT Industry. However, achieving this future sustainably means paying close attention to the concerns of the professionals who use this technology each day. Studies like the IT Trends Report are critical in bringing these concerns to light, amplifying voices from across the industry to form a more accurate understanding of AI and its impact. Such insights help ensure a wise approach to AI integration as we work to deliver tangible benefits to the tech pros we serve.

Keen to learn more? Join us for SolarWinds Day — AI: Friend or Foe? on June 26. We'll discuss the findings of the IT Trends Report 2024, AI by Design, strategies to consider when implementing AIOps, and much more. Register now.

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