Softcat 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 this will underpin the country’s future prosperity. However, despite the hype surrounding emerging technologies 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 the research, 55 per cent of UK firms have experienced a cyber-attack in 2019, up 15 per cent compared to last year, signifying a growing threat. The findings show how seriously UK businesses are taking such statistics, with 83 per cent 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 with 56 per cent of industries ranking end user computing and mobility as their second biggest technology priority. The construction industry and two public sectors – education and healthcare – rank end user computing and 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.

“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,” Craig Lodzinski, chief technologist – data and emerging technologies, Softcat, said. “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.”