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Despite the global economy being in the doldrums, 44% of IT leaders based in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region expect IT budgets to increase this year, according to the latest EMEA TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities survey, which received responses from around 400 IT decision-makers.
This is 10% higher than last year, signalling that businesses view IT investments as strategic rather than a cost that can be cut during tough economic times.
Cloud and security investments are key priorities for organisations as digital transformation continues at a pace. The survey revealed that 44% of organisations now consider themselves cloud-first businesses, 63% agree that security has become significantly more important over the past two years, 75% are increasing their use of automation, while 87% are investing in hybrid working technologies.
There has been a significant shift in how organisations view the cloud. Only 23% of organisations said their IT strategy was to go for on-premise software first, compared with 27% last year. The number of respondents that considered themselves a cloud-first business increased from 39% in last year’s survey to 44% this year.
Despite the clear move to cloud-based IT, the survey revealed a hesitancy to move systems to the public cloud. Some 69% of respondent organisations have less than half of their IT workloads in the public cloud.
The EMEA region lags behind North America, where 50% of organisations in the region’s version of the TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities survey said they were cloud first.
Security is for all
The migration of business-critical systems to the cloud to support digital transformation brings with it many security challenges. In the EMEA region, 63% of respondents said cyber security had become significantly important to their organisation over the past two years. In fact, 23% now want to involve non-security stakeholders in security decisions.
An essential part of improving an organisation’s security posture is a well-informed workforce. This is not lost on EMEA IT leaders, according to the survey, with 67% planning to invest in security awareness training, 27% saying they will invest more in training for security staff, and 22% of organisations reporting that they will hire more security staff.
But, at least in the short term, 32% of organisations are planning to use managed security service providers (MSSPs) to combat any staffing and skills shortages.
Future of work
Since the Covid-19 pandemic created social and economic chaos across the globe, there has been a rapid move to hybrid working models. The inability for people to move around when Covid was spreading rapidly left organisations with no choice but to ensure staff could work from home.
The TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities survey asked EMEA businesses about their plans around investing in hybrid working, as part of what are known as “future of work” strategies.
Most (84%) are investing in hybrid working strategies, with 18% investing aggressively, 29% investing moderately and 37% investing when needed.
Read about last year’s TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities survey
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