Are IT leaders ready for AI? survey reveals mixed feelings

Canadian IT decision makers weigh AI's potential against current applications, revealing a complex landscape of optimism and hesitation

Are IT leaders ready for AI? survey reveals mixed feelings

A survey targeting Canadian IT decision makers reveals a nuanced stance towards artificial intelligence (AI) adoption in the workplace. 

According to the survey conducted by CDW in collaboration with Angus Reid and reported by BNN Bloomberg, a majority of 61 percent of respondents express openness to utilizing AI, while 58 percent recognize its potential to enhance productivity.  

However, there is a significant level of discomfort, with 49 percent of respondents expressing unease about the current applications of AI.   

Michael Traves, CDW Canada's devops and AI cloud principal architect, shared insights into the prevailing concerns, stating, “much of the discomfort surrounding AI comes from a misunderstanding of the technology.” 

He further elaborated on the transformative potential of AI, emphasizing its capacity to improve operational efficiency, drive innovation, and foster growth. Traves highlighted the need for better understanding around key aspects of AI, such as security, education, and compliance, to alleviate discomfort with its adoption.   

This sentiment of cautious optimism towards AI finds resonance in a report by Square. The report discovered that all Canadian restaurants surveyed—100 percent—believe AI has the potential to assist with staffing and food preparation.  

Additionally, they see AI as a means to enhance customer experiences by personalizing food and drink recommendations to match individual tastes.   

Despite the widespread implementation of AI technologies, with more than half of the respondents having integrated some form of AI into their operations, only 21 percent believe their companies are doing so effectively.  

This discrepancy underscores a significant gap in education and governance related to AI integration, pointing to a lack of understanding about the complexity of AI tools among those responsible for overseeing its implementation.   

The survey also sheds light on the disparity in AI adoption and knowledge between large and small businesses. While 60 percent of larger businesses are aware of AI data processing tools, only 28 percent of small businesses share this awareness.  

Moreover, small businesses report less benefit from AI adoption, with only 18 percent experiencing customer service improvements and 20 percent noting enhanced decision-making capabilities.   

In light of these findings, CDW recommends a tailored approach to AI solutions, emphasizing the importance of training employees on AI and evaluating AI options carefully to find the best fit for individual organizational needs.