Research indicates that while enthusiasm for AI's potential to enhance productivity is widespread across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, there are significant concerns regarding data quality, security, and regulation. The 2024 IT Trends Report, titled 'AI: Friend or Foe?' by SolarWinds, reveals a cautious optimism within the industry. Approximately 43% of IT professionals advocate for quicker AI implementation despite associated costs and challenges, yet only 34% are confident in their company's databases' ability to support AI's demands. Additionally, just 33% express strong trust in the data quality or training methods used in AI development.

Abdul Rehman Tariq Butt, Regional Director – Middle East, SolarWinds, notes that nearly 90% of respondents anticipate AI's positive impact, indicating its inevitable integration. To facilitate this, it's crucial to ensure stakeholder engagement, whether employees or customers interacting with AI. In the EMEA region, 52% of companies feel their employees are well-prepared for AI, with another 42% believing they could adapt. Effective implementation also requires appropriate safeguards, as highlighted by the popularity of services like ChatGPT, which may lead to unregulated data usage and potential leaks. Fortunately, 61% of businesses in EMEA have established internal frameworks to address AI-related concerns.

Dependability and trustworthiness are essential for AI's benefits to be realized. Common negative experiences with AI in EMEA are linked to privacy, algorithmic errors, and security risks, which can severely impact businesses, such as through AI hallucinations causing misinformation. The study by SolarWinds shows that 87% of regional respondents favor increased government regulation of AI, with security, misinformation, and privacy being top concerns over job displacement.

Organizations face the challenge of enhancing data security without compromising ethics. SolarWinds recommends advanced security tools and regular training to foster ethical data handling. Krishna Sai, SVP, Technology and Engineering at SolarWinds, emphasizes the need for internal systems prioritizing security, fairness, and transparency in AI development, highlighting the importance of consulting IT professionals as companies invest in AI.