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Challenges and opportunities: How CIOs and IT Leaders can harness the power of AI

To dive deeper into the world of AI integration, we hosted a webinar to discuss the challenges and opportunities of harnessing the power of AI for CIOs and IT leaders. Here are the top takeaways.

The AI revolution has raised exciting new possibilities to optimize business environments – so naturally, it’s also raised many questions. Our recent survey(opens in a new tab or window) of more than 1,350 CIOs echoes this, with many expressing they’re under pressure to explore AI tools that unlock workflows while at the same time navigating app sprawl (the surge of apps in the workplace) and growing feelings of tech fatigue.

To dive deeper into the application of AI in the enterprise, we sat down with Natalie Piucco (Chief Technologist, Google Cloud Australia), Tim Sheedy (Vice President, Research, Ecosystm), and Robert Kawalsky (Head of Product, Canva) to discuss the challenges and opportunities. Here are the top takeaways.

1. AI adoption will continue to grow

Although many IT leaders prioritize consolidating corporate IT stacks as they adjust to a post-pandemic world, the majority are also evaluating AI solutions as they look to extract value from this rapidly emerging technology. From scaling creative processes, to enhanced decision-making and automating workflows, the benefits on offer are wide-ranging. That’s why Ecosystm has seen some international organizations already spending 30% of their IT budget on AI-related services, applications, and solutions – and businesses delaying adoption risk being left behind.

Quote card from Tim Sheedy, Vice President, Research at Ecosystm, about how AI is becoming the fastest-growing technology the world has ever seen.

2. Implementing an AI vision is critical for decision-making

Our CIO report(opens in a new tab or window) found that 94% of CIOs plan to increase their budget to make investments in AI apps this year – but they must do so strategically and sustainably. Having a vision for AI is as important as any other technology – with the caveat of not getting too hung up on a long-term strategy. The rapid advancements of AI mean traditional five-year roadmaps quickly become redundant, so looking internally first can be a valuable way to support the adoption journey and innovation flow.

Quote card from Natalie Piucco, CTO at Google Cloud Australia, about the importance of having a listening team with internal teams on what AI technology they are already using.

Avoid thinking about how a specific AI tool fits into your business just for the sake of it; instead, decide what goals you’re trying to accomplish and then assess the relevant solutions best suited to those goals.

Quote card from Robert Kawalsky, Head of Product at Canva, about how people are now looking for AI tools that are workhorses rather than toys.

CIOs are responsible for choosing technology that helps their organization have a greater impact while consolidating cost and reducing complexity. IT leaders need to explore integrating AI at a higher level: where its capabilities transcend individual apps and features, and create new integrated and seamless experiences.

3. Having guardrails in place is key

With any new technology, the risks need to be understood and managed, especially within an enterprise setting where trust and safety are at a premium – and AI is no different, where guardrails are critical. In establishing parameters, IT leaders can promote safe, responsible, and effective use while empowering teams with the confidence to move ahead with projects knowing they’re operating within a compliant environment.

Data privacy, safety and copyright are some of the issues weighing on the minds of IT professionals and according to our CIO report(opens in a new tab or window), 70% of IT leaders have already established guardrails to ensure the responsible use of AI in the workplace.

Image of five professionals meeting around a laptop, using Canva at work.

This is something we're doubling down on at Canva with the introduction of Canva Shield(opens in a new tab or window), offering enterprise-grade safety, privacy and indemnification for enterprise customers. We've also made it easier than ever to control which AI features users have access to with the ability to toggle access on and off based on employee roles. IT can let their teams explore our suite of AI-powered tools(opens in a new tab or window), knowing they're in safe hands.

4. Take your teams on the journey

A CIO’s strategy is only as successful as their team’s ability and willingness to engage with technology in an efficient, effective, and secure manner – so providing education opportunities on integrating AI into day-to-day workflows is key for driving internal and sustained adoption.

Professionals are increasingly looking to leaders for learning opportunities and ways to adopt new skills that move their careers forward, so giving people the freedom to explore AI-powered tools and discover impactful use cases is important for all businesses to keep in mind.

Quote card from Robert Kawalsky, Head of Product at Canva, about how we've placed a huge emphasis on training and education at Canva, through Canva University.

At Canva, we’ve adopted a customer-zero strategy where we encourage our team of 4,500 Canvanauts to test our suite of AI-powered tools and have created spaces and forums for knowledge-sharing around AI within the business.

AI shouldn’t be ‘owned’ by one person or team. It’s everyone’s responsibility – and providing your team with ongoing opportunities to interact with AI will help your organization prepare for an AI-first future.

Catch up on the full webinar

Ready to dive in and hear even more lightbulb-moment insights? Watch the full webinar below.

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