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The pandemic wave has brought a historic increase in technology spending.

The "coronavirus" has caused an "explosion" in technological investments. During the first wave of the pandemic, companies spent about $ 15 billion more a week on technology, according to KPMG's 2020 Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey.

According to the research findings, most of the investments were in the fields of security and personal data protection. Nevertheless, four out of ten IT leaders see an increase in cyber-attacks worldwide.

More specifically, companies around the world spent an additional $ 15 billion a week on technology to ensure safe work from home during COVID-19, according to the 2020 Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey. It's one of the largest increases in technology investment in history - with global IT executives spending just three months more than their annual budget increase following the global crisis and enforcement of lockdowns.

The survey involved more than 4,200 IT executives and analyzed responses from companies with total technology costs in excess of $ 250 billion. The world's largest IT leadership survey found that despite this huge increase in spending, with security and privacy being the top investments during COVID-19, four in 10 IT leaders report that their company received more cyber attacks. More than three-quarters of these attacks involved phishing efforts (83%), and almost two-thirds malware (62%) suggesting that the massive shift to work at home has widened the exposure of businesses to risk from their staff .

At the same time, companies have struggled to find skilled cybersecurity professionals to support this abrupt shift from work to home - and report that cybersecurity (35%) is now the most sought-after technology skill in the world. This is the first time a security-related skill has been at the top of global technological skills shortages in more than a decade. 

Although spending on technology has risen sharply during the pandemic, research shows budgets will be under increasing pressure next year. Prior to the pandemic, more than half (51%) of IT leaders expected budget increases over the next 12 months, but this figure dropped to 43% during the pandemic. Of course, this is still a net increase in budgets and almost double the cost of technology in 2009 - in the aftermath of the then International Financial Crisis of 2008.

Other key findings from the largest technology research in the world are:

Digital companies stand out - Digital technology leaders were more likely than others to invest more in technology as a result of COVID-19 - with 50% more companies being "very" or "extremely efficient" in use of digital technologies to spend an additional 21-50%. These investments focused on large-scale applications of Distributed Cloud (42%) and SaaS (Software as a Service) technologies (34%). The crisis has led to a widening gap between companies that base their technology strategy and those that do not.

Psychological health concerns - 8 out of 10 IT leaders worry about their team's psychological health during the pandemic, which led 6 out of 10 IT leaders (58%) to implement programs to support their staff .

 Rising investments in the cloud - After investments in security and personal data protection (47%), investments in infrastructure and the cloud were in third place in technology investments during COVID-19, with the number of leaders of IT departments seriously considering the implementation of the Distributed Cloud almost doubles in just 12 months (from 11% to 21%).

Skills shortages - Prior to the pandemic, skills shortages for 2020 were at an all-time high. Therefore, shortages of talented tech-savvy people have remained high, only marginally lower than the levels of the 2008 International Financial Crisis. In addition to cybersecurity skills (35%), the next three rarest technological skills are organizational management (27 %), business architecture (23%) and technical architecture and advanced analytics at 22% each.

According to Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash Group, "This unexpected and unplanned increase in technology investment has also been accompanied by fundamental changes in the way businesses do business - with more business changes in the last six months than we have seen the last ten years. Success will generally lie in the way businesses manage their culture and interact with their people. In a world where geographical location is no longer important, where the office can be on the kitchen table and where more than 80% of IT executives are concerned about the psychological health of their teams, businesses will need to redefine what they offer their employees to keep the talented potential they need to support them in the pandemic and beyond. "

 "Information Technology (IT) in the New Reality will be formed based on economic recovery models unique for each industry, location and company. While each CIO responds differently to these forces, one thing remains constant - the need for swift and decisive action. "Technology has never been more critical to the survival and success of businesses," said Steve Bates, Principal of KPMG USA and Global Leader of the CIO Center of Excellence at KPMG International.

For his part, the general manager and head of consulting services of KPMG in Greece, Nikos Dimakos, notes that "during the pandemic, we saw companies quickly adapting to a new way of remote operation using digital media. The investments made will not be wasted as most of them will remain at the end of the pandemic, prescribing a new business model that is in line with the new habits of society and the customers of each company. We expect to see more technology both in the end-user service channels and in the supply chain of each business in an effort to survive businesses in the new market data.

Source: H Kathimerini