97% of IT and Operations leaders to increase AI investments

Enterprise IT and operations leaders are realizing positive results from early AI deployments, including greater productivity and efficiency, enhanced customer experience and reduced costs. As such, 97% of global enterprise IT and Operations leaders will increase their AI expenditure over the next 18 months. That is according to an independent global survey by Celigo, the leading integration platform as a service (iPaaS) for business and IT users.

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The “AI Trends in IT and Operations Report” surveyed more than 1,200 global enterprise IT and Operations leaders, finding AI is rapidly gaining momentum across enterprises of all sizes and is seen as critical to driving major operational improvements.

“The results of the report confirm the AI operations revolution is well underway,” said Scott Henderson, chief technology officer at Celigo. “While AI has quickly become an integral component for successful IT and Operations functions, it is more important than ever for enterprises to have an organization-wide strategy and implementation roadmap. This will inform investments to improve the efficacy of AI deployments, empower non-technical business users to implement AI solutions, and reduce obstacles that inhibit widespread adoption.”

Benefits of AI for businesses:

The report revealed that, while IT and operations leaders are experiencing the greatest benefits of AI usage, other departments are leveraging the technology. Nearly half of those surveyed said their organization is actively using AI to automate Customer Service/Support while Research and Development (41%) and Marketing (37%) were also cited as areas seeing positive outcomes from AI implementations. Just under 50% of respondents reported their organizations saw marked improvement in productivity and efficiency, 45% benefitted from optimized operations, and AI usage led to enhanced customer experience and helped reduce costs at nearly 40% of the global enterprises surveyed.

IT and operations leaders are now eager to utilize AI to transform all business processes. In fact, IT Services (59%) was the most prioritized sector to address by the end of 2025 among those surveyed, followed by analytics (52%), data processing (51%) and marketing automation (32%).

Challenges of AI – and overcoming them

Despite the positive approach to AI and spending intent, IT and Operations leaders still face several challenges for business implementation. More than half (56%) cited security concerns surrounding the use of AI as the most significant obstacle to widespread adoption and acceptance in their workplace. Insufficient education also emerged as a barrier to AI success, as 47% said a lack of understanding on what AI can do for their organization hampered implementation efforts. Additionally, 46% reported that employees and teams fear their jobs and functions will be replaced by AI.

While the research exposed integration challenges, it also showed organizations are actively addressing these issues to accelerate transformation. For example, 82% of global enterprises are following an AI strategy or roadmap for implementation.

Success essentials

What became clear from Celigo’s research is that optimized data collection and integrating SaaS applications are essential to AI success, and that’s despite the 52% who said connecting data across applications is the most significant challenge to AI training and workflows within their organization.

While IT and operations leaders recognize the importance of an integration strategy, there are varying approaches to integrating disparate systems. According to the research, 36% of those surveyed rely on an Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS), another 36% have chosen direct API connections with various systems and 17% depend on stream processing frameworks.

A significant 68% of respondents support a “Citizen Developer” mindset to automate front- and back-office operations and 53% are already allowing non-technical business users to implement AI solutions themselves without heavily relying on overburdened and underfunded IT teams for support. The report indicates a foundational integration strategy establishes the appropriate safeguards that enable Citizen Developers to deploy AI applications while maintaining proper IT governance.

“AI is game changing. I haven’t seen a wave of new technology over the last 25 years where it has been more critical to partner with experts on implementation,” said Jotham Ty, founder and CEO of Gappify. “Not only is the technology still evolving, but the governance and compliance implications may be too high to manage in-house. Enterprises should consider prioritizing investments in AI with proven solution providers to achieve quicker time to value and ensure their AI implementations have a solid foundation.”

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