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Softcat study reveals key business tech priorities for 2024

A new report by IT infrastructure provider, Softcat, offers a look into the technologies that businesses are prioritising over the next 12 months.

The findings are based on the views of more than 4,000 customers from 2,900 organisations in the UK and Ireland, across 27 industries in both the public and private sectors.

The report, which is produced annually, reveals organisations are, for the second year running, prioritising Cyber Security above all technology areas, with 56 per cent of respondents saying that it is their focus over the next 12 months.

Kieron Newsham, Softcat Chief Technologist for Cyber Security said, "it’s clear from the report’s findings that organisations are yet again recognising the importance of cyber security amid the relentless pace of technological advancement and evolving threats.

“To truly mitigate risk, organisations must be resilient. They can do this by being wary of how new technologies can increase threats while embracing and utilising them to recover and normalise operations after cyber incidents.”

After Cyber Security, organisations are prioritising Digital Workspace, with ‘Devices and End User Computing’ the second most cited technology investment area for over a third of organisations over the next year (39% of respondents).

Organisations that recognise the importance of optimising their digital workspace to maximise efficiency in an age of flexible work environments look to reap benefits such as enhanced productivity, security, and sustainability.

Data is the third most important technology area, with 28 per cent of customers citing it as a priority area over the next 12 months, followed by Networking and Connectivity (25%) and Datacentre and Private Cloud (18%).

The report also highlights the importance of AI, its potential to reshape business and technology, and how organisations should balance the scales of opportunity and challenges to harness the newfound intelligence responsibly.

Meanwhile, this year, organisations were also able to share what they expected to be their biggest challenges over the next 12 months.

People-related challenges were a concern for 48% of respondents, followed by Commercial Risk (40%), Processes (31%), Technology Experience (30%) and Procurement (26%).

For those working in the IT landscape, key themes mentioned for each challenge include inflation, technology advancements, and skill gaps, which will likely see organisations and their employees increase resilience and continuously adapt to remain ahead of the competition. 

Additionally, as organisations embraced the fifth industrial revolution, respondents were able to rank their key environmental, social, and governance (ESG) focus areas for the year ahead.

People and Culture is top priority for 70% of respondents over the next year, closely followed by Sustainability (68%) and Diversity and Inclusion (55%).

This year marks the third year running that sustainability is high on the agenda for many businesses, with more than three times more respondents citing it as a priority, up from 19 per cent in 2022.

Richard Wyn Griffith, Chief Commercial Officer added, “as we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology, it is essential that we remain vigilant and adaptable. The past year has seen global unrest, but it has also presented us with countless technological opportunities for growth and innovation. 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. It is critical that we remain proactive in our efforts to safeguard against cyber threats, integrate AI into our operations, and build digital resilience.

“Only by embracing change and remaining steadfast in our commitment to progress can we hope to thrive in this new age of digital transformation. I look forward to continuing to work with our customers towards a brighter future.”

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