Although IT budgets took a hit in 2020, Gartner predicts a worldwide increase of 6.2% in IT spending 2021. Companies are now accelerating their plans for digital transformation and pushing forward AI initiatives that may have been put on hold—a report by Gartner estimates that AI augmentation will generate $2.9 trillion in revenue in 2021. While there are endless possibilities of incorporating AI into your tech stack, here are four trends that are gaining traction and funding. 

Automating core business processes

One of the top trends of 2021 is utilizing AI to automate core business processes. While automation is not a new player in the IT industry, the urgent transition to a remote working environment has accelerated the need. 

Businesses have been too reliant on manual labor to set up and monitor business critical processes. Wayne Butterfield, Global Head of Intelligent Automation Solutions at ISG Automation, asserts that automation can lighten pressure on your employees and enable them to complete more fulfilling work. Implementing automation doesn’t just save valuable time, it also mitigates human error. 

Automating core business processes like ticketing and approvals will also open the door to flexibility and scalability. Now, teams will be able to leverage real-time analytics on their processes and operations by automating data retrieval. In turn, this will allow teams to utilize actionable insights and improve processes. Incorporating automation also makes it easier to scale as the company grows, paving the way for rapid expansion. 

Increasing security 

One thing is certain: Increasing security measures is top of mind for companies right now. A survey by IDC reported that “63% of organizations are investing in cybersecurity to build digital trust for customers, employees, and partners.” As companies are experiencing and adapting to a changing digital landscape, their virtual security requirements are also changing. 

Companies can incorporate AI into their security operations by automating security and protection operations such as checking data breaches, running virus scans, and monitoring for failures. Automating these processes allows for employees to focus on critical security tasks that can’t be performed solely by AI like security analysis, project management, and decision making.  

In this remote world, an organization’s duty to provide secure, robust, and trustworthy connection to their employees and customers is paramount. 

Revolutionizing customer support

Another area to consider leveraging AI in is your customer support process. CIO reports that “by 2025, 80% of CIOs alongside LOB execs will implement intelligent capabilities to sense, learn, and predict changing customer behaviors, enabling exclusive customer experiences for engagement and loyalty.” Companies will continue to expend more energy into elevating the customer experience. 

Organizations can employ intelligent automation to gather important data along the customer journey in order to cater the experience to the customer’s needs, and automating the lead routing process can seamlessly guide the customer to the appropriate representative. 

Taking it a step further, companies are increasing their use of AI to liaise with customers—47% of organizations are predicted to employ chatbots for customer support in 2021. Chatbots can improve customer experience by offering 24/7 assistance, routing leads, and even predicting consumer behavior. If you’ve had a frustrating experience “chatting” with a one-track-minded chatbot before, fear not: with an expected $1.3 billion market size by 2024, troubleshooting with a bot will continue to become more and more like troubleshooting with a human.    

Implementing no/low-code tools 

Gartner reports that by 2024, companies will be using no/low-code tools to handle more than 65% of their application development. 

Companies are investing heavily into these no/low-code tools due to their ability to promote the role of the “citizen developer,” essentially empowering employees of all developing backgrounds to use the tool. By enabling individuals from every end of the business to automate the processes that give them the most trouble, no/low-code tools can help ramp up digital transformation. 

The flexibility of no/low-code tools makes it one of the most disruptive AI technologies. No longer bogged down with lines of codes, users can now quickly make intuitive changes to applications and processes without having to involve a developer. 

As your organization continues its digital transformation or receives extra funding for IT initiatives, consider leaning on AI to grow and scale your business.


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Mary Hodges
About Mary Hodges

Mary previously worked in IT recruiting and is thrilled to bring her community building skills to the business systems community.