GC Staff Writer

UK-based IT infrastructure provider Softcat has surveyed more than 1,600 of its customers across 18 different sectors to disclose the major technology priorities in 2020.

As stated by the UK government, the country has the capability to be a worldwide leader in data-driven technologies such as AI and IoT in the years to come.

However, the 2020 survey revealed that emerging technologies such as IoT and AI have been given the second least priority by the organisations for the third consecutive year.

Softcat Data and Emerging Technologies chief technologist said: “It’s surprising to see low interest in Big Data, IoT and AI but for many organisations, these aren’t “business as usual” technologies yet. Instead, organisations continue to prioritise “utility” services which are essential for day-to-day operations.

“However, recent developments mean emerging technologies are becoming easier to adopt and as such, we expect investment to grow over the next few years as industry catches up.”

Among the 18 industries which are being surveyed by Softcat, real estate, private health and social work, and energy & utilities ranked Big Data, IoT and AI the highest in seventh and eighth place respectively, but the results are still lesser than anticipated.

The research further showed that print services are given the lowest priority for businesses, which is not surprising given the speed of digital transformation and the introduction of waste-reduction policies.

According to the survey, 55% of firms in the UK have experienced a cyber-attack in 2019, an increase of 15% as compared to 2018, suggesting a growing threat.

The findings also exposed how the UK businesses are taking such statistics, with 83% of industries ranking cyber security as their biggest technology priority.

Softcat security chief technologist Adam Louca said: “Cyber security continues to be the number one priority for most organisations. This year, we’ve seen the first enforcement actions as part of GDPR, proving the ICO isn’t afraid to punish those falling short of the mark.

“Investing in security by design not only reduces risk but enables organisations to take advantage of new technologies more rapidly.”

Over two-thirds of employees worldwide now work remotely, so on-demand access to secure and optimised data is now a business necessity.

This is also indicated in the report with 56% of industries ranking End User Computing & Mobility as their second-biggest technology priority.

On the other hand, the construction industry and the education and healthcare sectors have ranked End User Computing & Mobility as their number one priority, ahead of cyber security investment.

Investment in the Datacentre and Cloud is ranked third overall, stressing how hybrid cloud is an integral part of evolving IT strategies, helping organisations gain competitive advantages.