In a comprehensive annual Business Tech Priorities Report released by leading providers of IT infrastructure, Softcat, cyber security emerged as the most prioritised tech investment for businesses in the coming year.
Based on the views of over 4,000 customers from 2,900 organisations in the UK and Ireland, across 27 industries, both in the public and private sectors, the report reveals an exclusive insight into the tech investments businesses are prioritising for the year ahead.
For the second consecutive year, 56% of respondents indicate that cyber security will remain their key focus in technology investments. Softcat Chief Technologist for Cyber Security, Kieron Newsham, notes the critical role of being resilient, especially given the ongoing technology evolution and escalating threats.
Newsham said: "It's clear from the report's findings that organisations are recognising the importance of cyber security amid the relentless pace of technological advancement and evolving threats. To truly mitigate risk, organisations must be resilient, wary of how new technologies can increase threats while utilising them to recover and normalise operations after cyber incidents."
The report also highlights Digital Workspace as the second most common investment area, with 39% of respondents planning to invest in Devices and End User Computing over the next year.
Optimisation of the digital workspace is seen as crucial to maximise efficiency within the evolving landscape of flexible work environments and digital changes, such as generative Artificial Intelligence (AI). Organisations recognising this are expected to enhance productivity, security, and sustainability.
Other top areas for technology investments include Data, cited by 28% of respondents, Networking and Connectivity (25%), and Datacentre and Private Cloud (18%). With a spotlight on the evolving role of AI, the report encourages organisations to balance opportunity and challenges to use this newfound intelligence responsibly.
Concerns about likely challenges in the next year were also included in the report. Almost half of the respondents identified people-related challenges, followed by commercial risk (40%), processes (31%), technology experience (30%), and procurement (26%). Inflation, technology advancements, and skill gaps are among the significant topic concerns in these challenges.
On the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) front, respondents set People and Culture as their priority for next year (70%), closely followed by Sustainability (68%) and Diversity and Inclusion (55%). For the third year in a row, sustainability stayed high on the list, with its importance being acknowledged by thrice the number of organizations than in 2022, when it was picked by only 19%.
Contacted for comments on the findings of the report, Richard Wyn Griffith, Softcat's Chief Commercial Officer, stated: "As we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology, it is essential that we remain vigilant and adaptable. By taking a measured and strategic approach, we can effectively manage the risks associated with emerging technology while also seizing the opportunities that it presents."
Griffith added, "Only by embracing change and remaining steadfast in our commitment to progress can we hope to thrive in this new age of digital transformation."