There’s been a 71% increase in the number of software applications on IT teams’ work computers over the last year, according to a new report from Freshworks, with IT pros embracing AI to automate workflows and boost efficiency. The vast majority (86%) of IT pros reported that their organisations are already using AI. 

The Freshworks report found that companies in the US could save over A$23,430 (US$15,000) per IT employee each year using AI to eliminate time spent on repetitive tasks. This means that an enterprise-sized company with at least 5,000 employees and an average of 200 IT professionals on staff could save at least A$4.69 million (US$3 million) annually using AI.

IT teams rank ease of use and efficiency as top attributes of business software, ahead of feature suite, reliability and cost-effectiveness. IT pros agreeAI frees up time otherwise spent on repetitive tasks (49%) and allows them to do more complex, meaningful work (45%). Moreover, IT pros estimate they could save more than five hours per week by using AI to complete repetitive tasks. 

Freshworks president, Dennis Woodside said, “I’ve had a front-row seat to the mobile and cloud revolutions and witnessed how both delivered powerful efficiencies that enabled IT teams to improve performance—without expanding costs. We’re already seeing customers like Smartsheet and Sony Music Entertainment who plan to harness AI to substantially improve employee service while saving on costs from legacy software accrued over time.”

Directors and above report higher use and organisational support for AI. Seven in ten (70%) IT directors and above say that the use of AI is actively encouraged by their company, compared to 44% of team leads/managers and 21% of individual contributors.

More than nine in ten (91%) IT directors and above currently use AI to support their workload, compared to 66% of team leads/managers and 33% of individual contributors. Newer generations are playing a pivotal role in AI adoption. Eight in ten (81%) of Millennials and 75% of Gen Z IT pros currently use AI to support their workload, compared to 57% of Gen X and 27% of Boomers. 

Freshworks chief information officer, Prasad Ramakrishnan added, “Business leaders adopt software for good reasons—to improve operations—but over time may face an unintended consequence of accruing more applications than they need. Smart, simplified technology, paired with the power of AI, will do more to drive productivity and efficiency than legacy software has done in decades. IT leaders who embrace automation and technological agility to reduce complexity will be the ones whose teams come out ahead.”