Downers Grove, Ill. – Organizations around the world identify innovation as a top business priority and are intrigued by the potential of emerging technologies, according to a new report from CompTIA, the leading trade association for the global information technology (IT) industry.
At the same time, concerns about cybersecurity readiness and the struggle to find enough workers with the right skills to meet their workforce needs add a measure of caution to expectations and plans for 2020, CompTIA’s “International Trends in Technology and Workforce” finds.
More than 1,500 business and technology professionals from 14 countries shared information on their business priorities for 2020, as well as perceptions of emerging technologies, cybersecurity, workforce skills, professional development strategies and the future of work.
“The ingredients for innovation have never been more accessible, and tech hubs can now be found in nearly every corner of the globe,” said Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA. “While the research points to momentum on many fronts, there remains much work to be done in helping businesses and workers navigate the path ahead.”
The Business of Technology
With global spending on hardware, software, services and telecom projected to reach nearly $5.2 trillion this year, it’s evident that technology has a growing and integral role in business operations. A full 95% of executives rate technology as a primary or secondary factor in reaching their business objectives.
Nearly 9 in 10 companies (87%) turn to outside providers to assist with their technology requirements. Repair and maintenance, consulting, deployment and integration, cybersecurity and software development are among the most common outsourced services.
A majority (66%) also report that they get excellent or good return on investment (ROI) from their technology spending. Firms who regularly or frequently outsource some of their technology needs are significantly more likely to report excellent or good ROI (72%) compared to those who occasionally outsource or rarely or never do so.
“These findings are in line with the feedback we receive from our member communities around the world,” said Nancy Hammervik, executive vice president for industry relations at CompTIA. “Organizations can focus more effectively on their core business knowing that their technology needs are being handled by a trusted provider. The financial and operational benefits of this outsourcing arrangement are likely to become even more evident as new technologies take hold.”
Emerging Tech Momentum Builds
A majority of executives (54%) have a positive view of emerging technology, while another 21% taking a middle-ground position, expressing equal parts excitement and trepidation. At the other end of the spectrum one in four report mostly feelings of trepidation about emerging tech. Budget constraints, risk aversion and a lack of a clear business case are among the primary factors that are causing some organizations to take a go-slow approach.
Although still far from mainstream adoption, the emerging technologies with the highest rates of implementation are the internet of things and big data.
Nearly 7 in 10 executives describe their organization’s cybersecurity as completely or mostly satisfactory. This indicates much room for improvement, especially with the remainder labeling their firm’s approach as simply adequate (25%) or inadequate (6%).
A low understanding of new cybersecurity threats is a top challenge for companies. Given the projected high growth rates for emerging technologies expected over the next several years, the need for businesses to re-evaluate approaches to cybersecurity is apparent. This even as a full 88% of firms reported recently changing their security approach.
Skills gaps remain an ongoing challenge for most organizations, with 46% of executives reporting that situation has grown more challenging over the past two years.
The research confirms the distinction between the generic use of the phrase “skills gap” and the more nuanced discussion of “workforce gaps” that encompass location, pay, soft skills, perceptions, innovation and more.
Interestingly, one-third of executives acknowledge that unrealistic expectations with skills and experience contribute to exaggerated perceptions of the skills gap. Another 53% acknowledge it is somewhat of a factor.
CompTIA’s “International Trends in Technology and Workforce” report is the result of an online survey of 1,554 business and technology professionals in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Ireland, Japan, the Middle East (Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates), the Netherlands, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The complete report, including country specific data, is available at https://www.comptia.org/content/research/international-trends-workforce-cybersecurity-emerging-tech.
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