Don't look now, but CXOs are becoming more optimistic, favoring revenue growth opportunities and planning technology pilots that will optimize and automate processes to partly pay for innovation.

That's the high-level take on the Constellation Research 2023 H1 "CxO Business Confidence Survey," which included 52 respondents primarily in the US and Europe. Of that sample, 86% had direct influence over technology purchasing.

Simply put, CXOs are expecting a better business climate in 2023. Fifty eight percent of respondents said they expected a better business climate in 2023. In the fourth quarter 2022 survey, 67% of respondents predicted a worse business climate for 2023.

The themes in the Constellation Research 2023 H1 "CxO Business Confidence Survey" revolve around leveraging technologies such as generative AI, analytics and automation to solve for revenue growth, profit growth via efficiency and labor constraints. From the report:

“Constellation predicts that enterprises that neglect to build a generative AI strategy will progressively fall behind. Early adopters have an opportunity to deliver on exponential growth across revenue operations, customer and employee experiences, and enterprise growth.”

Here's a look at a few of the findings from the report and my take:

The top 3 most important business issues facing CXOs is labor availability, operational challenges, and innovation. Worries about inflation, interest rates and consumer demand have receded along with recession fears. My take: Labor availability is a pain point that my also dovetail with interest in generative AI.

32% of the IT budget is going to investments that add to top-line growth and 28% is going to efficiency. My take: That balance makes a lot of sense given one can fund the other. Large enterprises can continually optimize processes at scale and fund innovation efforts.

57% of respondents plant to initiate a proof of concept this year for ChatGPT. Analytics and cloud remain top of mind for nearly half of CXOs. My take: Pilots for generative AI will abound as corporate FOMO kicks in and vendors roll out integrations. Stay tuned for the all-too-predictable generative AI disillusionment. Generative AI will be swell for companies with strong data strategies. The rest will gripe that generative AI wasn't a magic elixir.

22% of CXOs say they will initiate a proof of concept for metaverse in 2023. My take: That's a big percentage considering that metaverse has largely been a punchline for a year. Maybe it's not so mehtaverse after all.

The go-to vendors for CXOs are Microsoft, AWS, Salesforce, Google Cloud and Adobe. My take: Microsoft was cited as a top-of-mind software vendor by 69% of respondents. The big get bigger. More interesting is that "other" was cited by 25% of respondents, tied with Workday. The fact that "other" beat Apple, SAP, Cisco and Oracle tell me that not all CXOs are on the vendor consolidation bandwagon.