63% of businesses in Ireland to increase their spend on AI 2024

by Gazette Reporter
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Storm Technology reveals findings which show 63% of businesses in Ireland are to increase their spend on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in 2024.

The research – involving more than 100 IT leaders and decision-makers across larger enterprises and organisation across Ireland – found that the companies investing in AI this year expect to spend an average of €436,500, which indicates a significant increase of 45% compared to the average estimated spend of €301,700 in 2023.

Driving this, 59% of IT leaders think their company needs to adopt AI to be competitive over the next three years and 46% of respondents believe their organisation will lose market share/competitive advantage in the next three years if they do not invest effectively in AI.

However, not everyone is bought into the trend with almost half (49%) of IT leaders saying their senior management does not fully understand the potential of AI. Despite this, some three quarters (75%) of organisations in Ireland are considering or already using AI to some degree.

Delving deeper into this, less than a quarter (24%) are using it in a limited manner with a clear strategy. Meanwhile, some 15% of enterprises are using AI for certain business areas but without a clear strategy.

In terms of where businesses in Ireland are currently leveraging AI, 68% implement it for customer service, while 42% apply it to assist with their operations and 38% are deploying it for cross-functional daily tasks.

Improved staff productivity was the top cited benefit of AI, with well over half (59%) of respondents seeing it as an advantage. The other main benefits were found to be improved processes/workflows (56%), enhanced customer service (52%), reduced operating costs (44%), and improved data analytics/reporting (34%).

In terms of top priority areas for IT spend this year, AI ranked in the top five (36%). Cybersecurity ranked highest with 70% of IT leaders set to prioritise this area. Cloud infrastructure (51%) and business applications like ERP (41%) finished off the top three priority areas for IT spend in 2024.

Meanwhile, investing in collaboration and productivity tools is only a top priority for 34% of IT leaders. This has fallen considerably compared to a similar survey conducted by Storm Technology last year, when 69% were investing in this area.

As for the biggest obstacles to productivity in the workplace, the most prominent were found to be relying on manual processes (53%), concerns about security protocols (48%), and lack of effective IT solutions (42%). Some 37% also cited inability to disconnect/switch off, while 27% said working longer hours and a quarter (25%) said virtual meeting overload.

Enabling productivity (59%) was the leading factor driving the modernisation of the workplace, followed by optimising operational processes (58%), driving business growth (52%), and enhancing service delivery/customer service (52%). Compared to last year, far fewer organisations are modernising the workplace in order to create a 100% remote working environment – 27% last year compared to just 11% this year.

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