A new report by providers of IT infrastructure, Softcat, reveals the technologies businesses are prioritising over the next 12 months to bounce back from COVID-19, become smarter, and realise their long-term ambitions.
The findings are based on the views of nearly 1,250 organisations in the UK and Ireland, across 23 industries including Finance, Retail, Manufacturing, Education and Healthcare.
The report reveals organisations are now prioritising Digital Workspace solutions above all other technology areas, signalling a shift in digital strategies, workstyle dynamics and preparations for the arrival of the “anywhere organisation”.
Overall, 69% of organisations surveyed said Digital Workspace solutions will be important to them in the coming 12 months, helping them to create a frictionless, effective, secure and confidence-inspiring work environment as we enter the next period of change – hybrid working.
The data also reveals which specific Digital Workspace technologies companies are finding the most valuable.
Overall, Devices is the most cited Digital Workspace solution in 2021 (selected by 48% of respondents), helping leaders to manage their distributed workforces and provide them with the right tools to work well, from anywhere.
After Digital Workspace solutions, Cyber Security is the second most cited technology investment area for the next year (57% of organisations).
IT teams have been tested - and even pushed to their limits - over the past 18 months as organisations rapidly shifted to remote working and prioritised business continuity above all else – including security.
This has all taken place against a backdrop of new techniques and pivots by ecrime groups, most notably extortion campaigns, leveraging phishing, weak passwords or vulnerabilities in network services.
In fact, recent evidence from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021, suggests the security risk level is potentially higher than ever under COVID-19.
Hybrid infrastructure, comprising Datacentre and Cloud, Public Cloud and Managed Infrastructure is the third most important technology investment area, with 40% of organisations surveyed citing it as an IT focus in 2021/22.
The pandemic represents the tipping point where many organisations were forced to accelerate their deployment of cloud technologies while migrating away from their own datacentres, in the pursuit of cost savings, greater productivity for a distributed workforce and business agility gains.
As a result, global enterprise spending on cloud is at an all-time high and demand for datacentre hardware has skyrocketed over the past year from hyperscale cloud giants – including AWS, Microsoft and Google who have all posted double-digit year-on-year revenue growth over successive quarters during the pandemic.
Importantly, organisations were also able to rank sustainability as a focus for the first time.
More than 120 businesses (10% of respondents) cited sustainability as an important factor in their IT strategy for the coming year, signalling a shift towards greener and more ethically conscious decision making.
Technology has a vital role to play in supporting organisations in meeting their sustainability goals, to ensure compliance with tightening legislation and help the global community meet science-backed climate targets.
Richard Wyn Griffith, Managing Director of Softcat commented on the findings: "Over the past 18 months or so, many businesses have been heavily challenged; working hard to limit the impact on business-as-usual or respond to unprecedented surges and pivots in demand.
“People, empowered by technology, have made navigating this uncertain and disruptive period possible. And this will only continue as we learn to live and thrive with new ways of working.”