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Security remains the main customer concern going into 2024, according to a survey of users from channel player Softcat.
The firm’s annual quizzing of thousands of customers to find out what their IT priorities will be in the year ahead echoed the headline findings of 2023’s efforts.
Along with security, channel customers are also looking to invest in digital workspaces, with funds going into devices and end user computing as they react to the changing needs of a post-pandemic workforce.
Respondents were keen to enable greater levels of flexibility and tap into generative AI, as that also filtered into the digital workspace, to make improvements in productivity and security.
The other area that ranked highly as a priority was around data, with many customers looking to make sure they were able to protect and use their information. That was followed by networking and connectivity, datacentre and private cloud.
“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,” said Kieron Newsham, Softcat chief technologist for cyber security,
“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,” he added.
It has been almost impossible to hold a conversation in the channel this year without mentioning generative AI, and there are similar levels of interest across the customer base, with Softcat exposing a growing sense from customers that the technology has the potential to reshape their business.
The channel player also asked customers what issues were likely to make the year ahead challenging.
Top of that list were people-related issues, with commercial, business processes, technology experience and procurement flagged as topics of concern.
Inflation also continued to be a worry, while the emergence of AI was seen as another factor that would expose skills gaps.
Given its own ambitious commitments to developing a more sustainable business, Softcat was keen to hear if customers shared that priority.
The response indicated that users view environmental, social and governance (ESG) as a key area, with the focus next year going into people and culture primarily, then sustainability, and finally diversity and inclusion.
The Softcat survey has picked up a growing recognition of the importance of sustainability over the past three years, with an increasing number of forms pushing it up the list of priorities.
Richard Wyn Griffith, chief commercial officer at Softcat, said customers continued to reach out to the channel to help solve their IT issues.
“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,” he said.
“By taking a measured and strategic approach, we can effectively manage the risks associated with emerging technology, while also seizing the opportunities 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,” said Wyn Griffith.
“Only by embracing change and remaining steadfast in our commitment to progress can we hope to thrive in this new age of digital transformation,” he added.