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Softcat, a FTSE 250 listed company and leading provider of business technology solutions and services, has surveyed over 1,600 of its customers across 18 different industries to reveal the biggest 2020 technology priorities.

According to the Government, the UK has the potential to be a global leader in data-driven technologies such as AI and investment in the coming years and emerging tech will underpin the country’s future prosperity.

emerging techHowever, despite the hype surrounding emerging tech like IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI), organisations rank this as their second lowest tech priority for 2020 – and for the third year running.

Of the 18 industries surveyed, Real Estate, Private Health & Social Work, and Energy & Utilities ranked Big Data, IoT and AI the highest in seventh and eighth place respectively, but these results are still lower than expected.

Print services are rated as the lowest priority for businesses, which comes as no surprise given the speed of digital transformation and the introduction of waste-reduction policies.

According to research, 55 percent of UK firms have experienced a cyber-attack in 2019, up 15 percent compared to last year, signifying a growing threat.

Softcat’s findings show how seriously UK businesses are taking such statistics, with 83 percent of industries ranking cyber security as their biggest technology priority.

More than two-thirds of global employees now work remotely, so on-demand access to secure and optimised data is now a business necessity. This is reflected in Softcat’s report with 56 percent of industries ranking End User Computing & Mobility as their second biggest technology priority.

The construction industry and two public sectors – education and healthcare – rank End User Computing & Mobility as their number one priority, ahead of cyber security investment.

Investment in the Datacentre and Cloud is ranked third overall, highlighting how hybrid cloud is an integral part of evolving IT strategies, helping organisations gain competitive advantages.

Softcat’s expert technologists commented on the findings:

Craig Lodzinski, chief technologist – data and emerging technologies, Softcat:

“It’s surprising to see low interest in Big Data, IoT and AI but for many organisations, these aren’t “business as usual” technologies yet. Instead, organisations continue to prioritise “utility” services which are essential for day-to-day operations.”

“However, recent developments mean emerging technologies are becoming easier to adopt and as such, we expect investment to grow over the next few years as industry catches up.”

Adam Louca, chief technologist – security, Softcat:

“Cyber security continues to be the number one priority for most organisations. This year, we’ve seen the first enforcement actions as part of GDPR, proving the ICO isn’t afraid to punish those falling short of the mark.

“Investing in security by design not only reduces risk but enables organisations to take advantage of new technologies more rapidly.”

Dean Gardner, chief technologist – cloud, Softcat:

“The need for convenience and speed will shape the future of cloud as it adapts to the sheer amount of global data held.

“A hybrid cloud model will become the norm, helping organisations avoid vendor lock-in and stay agile in today’s fast-paced digital race.”

Adam Harding, chief technologist – end user computing, Softcat:

“The intensifying war for talent and ongoing disruption from every angle means many organisations are focusing on improving employee engagement.

“Improving the digital workspace, is one the best ways businesses can both protect and amplify a culture which makes them appeal to new talent.”

The full data findings on emerging tech and businesses can be explored on Softcat’s dedicated interactive webpage here.