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Digital Transformation

As IT Demands Rise, New Data Reveals Importance of Automation and Generative AI

Quick take: Salesforce’s global survey of IT leaders working across industries illustrates how companies are rethinking their strategies and tactics amid rising demand for their services, app proliferation, security threats, and ongoing developments in artificial intelligence. Here, we take a look at the UK findings.

Editor’s note: Visualisations included throughout this article set global responses as default. UK responses are available via filter.

A new survey of 250 IT leaders in the UK reveals that while most (74%) expect near-term demands from the business to grow, further stretching over-capacity teams, advancements in AI and automation are seen as increasingly viable and transformative solutions. 

84% of IT leaders in the UK now expect generative AI to play a prominent role at their organisations in the near future.

Today’s findings form part of Salesforce’s latest State of IT report – its survey of over 4,000 respondents worldwide dives into these trends and offers a pulse check on leaders’ priorities, challenges, and strategic direction moving forward.

Here are four key takeaways from the UK analysis.

1. Generative AI is set to revolutionise IT

Eighty percent of IT leaders believe the role of AI in their organisations is well-defined. The meteoric rise of generative artificial intelligence opens new opportunities in IT’s pursuit for efficiency and scale. 

84% of IT leaders expect generative AI to play a prominent role at their organisations in the near future. Despite their enthusiasm for generative AI’s potential, however, IT leaders are proceeding with caution. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of IT decision-makers are concerned about the technology’s ethical implications.

2. As business demands increase, IT teams focus on operational efficiency

Today, nearly three-quarters (72%) of UK IT organisations have trouble meeting business demands — a figure expected to rise as 78% of IT leaders expect further increased demand over the coming 18 months. In response, 92% of IT leaders say they’re increasingly focused on driving operational efficiencies.

3. Teams seek to scale app development

Demand for apps is on an unceasing upward trajectory, yet just 24% of UK organisations can support all development requests they currently receive. To scale their capacity, 91% have adopted low-code or no-code tools, and 58% use composability. 

4. Teams take an “all of the above” approach to security as threats loom

Rapidly evolving technologies enable businesses to create innovative apps, yet they can also introduce new security vulnerabilities bad actors could exploit. 75% of IT leaders report having trouble balancing business and security objectives, prompting them to adopt an array of defence measures. 49% of UK IT organisations use data encryption, for example, and 52% use multi-factor authentication. 

Comments on the news

“IT departments continue to be asked to do more with less, save on costs, deploy products faster, and deliver better customer and employee experiences. So it’s critical for CIOs and IT leaders to focus on operational efficiency and process excellence,” said Param Kahlon, EVP and GM, Automation & Integration, Salesforce. “By doing so, teams will be more productive and achieve business success moving forward.”

More information


Data is from a double-anonymous survey of 250 IT professionals across the UK with a title of director or higher that took place between February 28 and April 5, 2023. The global survey totalled 4,325 IT professionals across 29 countries. Additional methodology and survey demographic details can be found in the State of IT report.


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