CIO AI Spending to Rise, but Many Concerned by App Sprawl

Report by Canva Found Nine out of 10 CIOs Plan to Increase Their AI Tool Spending in 2024, but Many Have Raised Concerns About the Sheer Number of AI Apps

Nine out of 10 CIOs plan to increase their AI tool spending in 2024, according to a survey from visual communication platform Canva revealing why technology leaders are making the technology their top priority.

With the explosive growth in AI prompted by the 2022 release of ChatGPT, today more apps are entering the workplace, but consolidation and reducing complexity continue to be top of mind. CIOs report the pace of new apps in the market is rising globally, with 69% expecting to adopt between 30 and 60 new AI apps in 2024. 

But with the rise in the number of new applications, application sprawl – the growth in individual applications used in a workplace – represents a challenge for 77% of CIOs. As a result, nearly half (45%) are planning on some level of consolidation, with 19% planning for significant levels.

AI dominating CIOs minds, but identifying the right tools is a challenge

Despite concerns about application sprawl, nearly all CIOs (91%) plan to increase their budget to make investments in AI apps, with over a third (36%) planning budget rises of more than 50%. With more than 10% of enterprise employees today accessing at least one generative AI (Gen AI) application a month, IT leaders recognise the benefits of adopting AI, such as saving time on creative or strategic tasks (52%), helping consolidate apps (49%), and offering greater insights to guide business decisions (50%). Identifying the right solution is a challenge, with 83% saying that there are already too many AI tools available, causing confusion and overlap for employees.

With concerns that IT teams are overwhelmed, making simplicity and user-friendly tools are more important than ever for CIOs. The need to consolidate is being driven by stretched IT teams who are facing a rapid increase in the number of apps to manage. More than two-thirds (68%) report that they don’t have enough staff to train employees on new apps, including safe and proper use. 44% say their teams spend more than half of their time educating employees about new technologies, leaving less time for planning, innovation and other business-critical work.

“Leveraging AI without succumbing to application sprawl is a challenge CIOs are facing on a global scale,” said Duncan Clark, Europe Lead at Canva. “Our findings show a clear aspiration from CIOs to champion transformative change and innovation by opting for solutions that streamline costs and reduce complexity. This data is another example of how AI continues to reshape the future of work, and how IT leaders are embracing the technology with open arms.”

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