Companies and IT departments are in one of the most exciting and decisive moments in their history. Faced with unprecedented innovation, highly empowered and discerning customers, and an increasingly demanding workforce, IT leaders must satisfy a diverse array of new demands, all while keeping the lights on.

With only so many resources, prioritisation is a necessity, and a talent shortage has created pervasive skill gaps that can prevent teams from defining – let alone executing – cohesive strategies around the most critical enterprise technology initiatives.

In the Enterprise Technology Trends report, Salesforce Research analysed survey responses from enterprise IT leaders regarding 10 key topics that impact their departments and broader organisations.

 

Customer experience

As revealed in the report, the number 1 concern for companies is meeting customer expectations and providing the best customer experience. Consumers are savvier, more empowered and more discerning than ever. Their expectations have been shaped by everyday experiences with companies that are connected and tailored to their wants and needs, raising the bar for how business is done.

87% of IT leaders say that customer experience is a high priority, and 77% of IT leaders are increasing investment in the customer experience.

Despite that, less than half say that the strategy to provide better customer experience is well defined. The research shows the discrepancies between IT leaders’ statements and actions.

Customers expect connected experiences in which their information is known and accessible across touch points, with the average customer using 900 disparate applications. Most of IT’s customer experience initiative is focused on security and identity technology, but the research indicates that integration should be high on the list of priorities.

 

Security and trust

Customer sentiment regarding data privacy has a big influence. 95% of organisations have increased security investments due to public concerns.

The innovation that defines IT has ushered in unprecedented possibilities for customers, employees and business models. The innovation comes with a focus on security and trust, which has become IT’s second-highest priority, followed by investment. Most IT leaders demonstrate well-defined strategies for security and trust, with 54% of IT organisations dedicating a team or officer to security.



85% view internal threats with the same level of seriousness as external threats, and 78% have taken precautions to monitor employee access and use of customer data.

 

Technologies

Mobile technology

99% of IT leaders say that businesses must be mobile-enabled to survive in the future. Despite that, fewer than half of IT leaders consider mobile a high priority. Combine that with low skill levels and strategies that are loosely defined, and organisations may experience challenges and obstacles in a mobile-first future.




System integration

55% of IT leaders say that system integration is a high priority, and the primary technology used for integration is a customer relationship management (CRM) system. The average enterprise now uses 900 different applications, many of which aren’t integrated.

Integrating these applications for a cohesive and streamlined customer experience is now among IT leaders’ top 3 priorities.

Still, there are obstacles that inhibit integration. 69% of IT leaders say that lack of integration causes a disconnected customer experience at their company. 71% of IT leaders say integration projects are too time consuming and expensive. Addressing these obstacles for full integration is one of the keys to success in the customer-focused future.


AI

Artificial intelligence is disrupting IT circles. 83% of IT leaders say that AI is transforming customer engagement, and 69% say that it’s transforming their businesses. In addition, 42% of IT leaders report that their organisations already use AI applications.

The rate of adoption is expected to double in the next two years as well, so creating an agile work environment comes down to adopting future technologies early.

Unfortunately, AI strategies are among the most poorly defined of any IT topic, and skill sets are notably low. This can be a significant barrier to IT organisations adopting AI and considering it a high priority.

 

Workforce

Employee experience

Good customer experience starts with the employee. Though employee experience ranks a distant 4th place among IT priorities, and a mere 22% of teams have a completely defined employee experience strategy, with only 50% of IT leaders investing in their teams.


Developer experience

Developer talent is in huge demand and short supply, holding back the innovations companies need to compete. 72% of IT leaders say project backlogs prevent work on strategic projects.

Developers are the unsung heroes in technology-savvy enterprises, yet the overall developer experience and satisfaction is only a priority for 20% of IT leaders. In addition, only 10% have a defined strategy on the issue.

The adoption of new techniques and technologies offers huge potential for improving the developer experience.


IT staff learning development

96% of everyday people believe companies have a responsibility to prepare their workforce for emerging technology’s impact on jobs. Technology is moving forward at a breakneck pace, but technical skill sets are not. Less than 25% of IT leaders have a completely defined strategy on how to handle the crisis of skills, inhibiting their company’s competitive advantage.

In addition to acquiring the best available talent, IT leaders also need to invest in their employees’ training and skill building to empower them for success and adaptability for an agile future.

 

Stay future-ready

The future of technology in business is promising, but it presents numerous challenges that impact IT leaders. Download the Enterprise Technology Trends report to examine trends and develop your future-proof strategy.