British companies are reducing their spending on new technologies including AI, big data and robotics, according to a major survey of technology leaders. But even though 90% of respondents expect the economy to slow down, all technology spending will increase, with companies investing in established digital technologies.
More than half of technology executives surveyed for the 2022 Nash Squared Digital Leadership Report say they expect technology budgets to increase and place their investments in fixed and cloud technologies, no doubt , the biggest winner, with 67% of UK respondents reporting heavy use. .
The annual survey has been conducted since 1998, gathering responses from key technology decision makers. This year over 1,700 took part, including 746 from the UK.
Despite the decline in spending on new technologies, the report said companies are realizing the potential gains from data. Two-thirds of the leaders surveyed identified big data and analytics as the two most important technologies for generating competitive advantage, but only five said they were effective in using data insights to generate revenue. , in part due to the lack of skills in this sector and issues in recruiting people to handle data.
One of the most notable trends of the past year has been the rise in cyberattacks, with nearly half of large organizations reporting that they were hit by at least one attack in the past year. past, and a third cites investment in the cloud as a reason. of increasing security risks.
Of the UK’s largest organizations 44% reported a major cyber attack in the past two years, and half of all digital leaders in the UK are concerned that an attack could come from someone foreign government-sponsored groups, up from 12% in 2018.
Bev White, CEO of Nash Squared, said that the economic indicators are turning negative, but even these companies are still investing in technology, saying that it is “important” to increase efficiency in the uncertain economy.
“There are signs that some businesses are returning to investing in areas like AI and big data,” he said. “The reasons for this are clear, but organizations need to be careful not to cut too deep – they risk falling too far ahead of the pace to catch up again, leaving their competitive positions long-term.”
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UK IT spending: cyber security is a priority
Nash also cautioned technology leaders to make sure they invest properly in cyber security because “the threat environment is becoming increasingly suspicious and concerns about foreign activity are increasing,” and say “the world has become dangerous in 2022. take strong preventive measures.
Last year’s survey highlighted the lack of “unprecedented” technical skills that threaten the progress of digital transformation initiatives, with 67% of technology decision makers saying they are holding it back. them to keep up with the pace of change. This is still a problem in 2022 especially in the world of cyber security experts.
A DCMS report by 2021 has suggested that the UK’s pool of cyber security professionals will be around 10,000 short and the threat is increasing. Only a third of the operators who responded to the survey were confident that all relevant risks were covered.
In addition to the online skills shortage, 68% of digital leaders in the UK said that a lack of technical skills overall made it difficult for them to keep up with the pace of change, which is even lower in 2021 More than half said there are not enough technical workers. and two-thirds said the rising cost of living has made wages unsustainable.
Technology leaders also said that government policies are not easy to fix and 78% of UK decision makers say that policies are “not effective” in tackling the shortage of energy. skills. In Asia only 41% of decision makers had problems with government policies on IT integration.
Focus on the lack of skilled workers
When it comes to workforce shortages, only 14% of tech leaders polled say they plan to turn to AI and robotics to automate the process, with the majority saying and the hybrid process has a greater impact on solving the problem, including clarifying the process. recruiting from abroad and bringing people into technical jobs that may not have been able to recruit parents. Thanks to hybrid work the number of women owners has reached 15% from 12% in 2021 and a quarter of technical workers are women.
This skills shortage will become even more acute in 2023 as, despite the economic downturn, more than half of organizations expect to increase their technology numbers. “Businesses are run on people – but the UK tech sector doesn’t see how many of them there are,” says White. “While the skills shortages affecting the sector are not new, there are concerns that they are getting worse, not better.”
He said there is evidence that companies are trying to retain workers, including redesigning offices, doing more remote work and switching to overseas workers.
“They have also done more to attract women to work in technology. I am excited to see progress here: the industry is moving towards a better gender balance that much needed,” White said.
The remote and hybrid work models that were quickly introduced during the pandemic are here to stay, the report said, with 68% of leaders in the UK reporting a better work balance /life among members of their group. But the news isn’t all good, with the crop yielded last year as the epidemic eased. Only four in ten say they have seen an increase in profits from hybridisation, last year it was half.
White said: “It will take time for UK organizations to find the best fit for their people and talent strategies. Remote and hybrid working are delivering some real benefits but there are signs that time is running out.