Artificial intelligence (AI) is having a measurable impact on both IT budgets and on how enterprises conduct business.
Thirteen percent of organizations have adopted AI, according to Spiceworks' latest survey of over 1,000 IT buyers in North America and Europe. Another 17 percent plan on adopting AI solutions in the next year.
Larger organizations are more bullish on AI. Nearly a third (30 percent) of those with 1,000 employees or more said they have already deployed AI solutions and another 25 percent expect to adopt AI next year. Twenty-five percent of respondents fell into this category.
Part of the reason businesses are willing to explore AI is an expected IT "budgetary bounty" in 2018. Forty-four percent of respondents expect an increase in IT budgets and 43 percent said their budgets would remain stable. Only 11 percent of those surveyed are anticipating IT budget cuts.
Another reason for its growing popularity is the sheer utility provided by AI-enabled solutions, particularly to overworked IT professionals.
During Spiceworks' recent SpiceWorld conference in Austin, Texas, senior IT analyst, Peter Tsai, recounted the experience of one of his company's community members who is using AI-enabled "help desk software that can learn how to more efficiently route tickets," in an interview with Datamation. When a user reports an issue, the system "can figure out which IT professional on your staff—say you have 10 of them—is the best one at resolving this kind of ticket."
Sometimes, AI can help end-users fix IT issues themselves.
If there is an existing resource or a website that reliably addresses a specific problem, the AI helpdesk system can "automatically just send that to the user" rather than requiring that IT workers devote their time on mundane or easily-repaired issues, Tsai explained. "It can look at efficiencies in the system, learn from what works and what doesn't, learn who is the best at resolving certain types of tickets and then kind of manage the workflow from there."
AI future in the workplace hinges on much more than providing faster, more efficient ways of putting out IT fires.
Earlier this year, Accenture predicted that virtual assistants will be so pervasive at companies that their employees will be productive on a 24/7 basis as the AI-powered technology works in the background on their behalf. The professional services company also expects AI to evolve from a back-end, efficiency-enhancing tool to "a digital spokesperson for companies."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.