Companies spent the equivalent of around US$15 billion extra a week on technology to enable safe and secure home working during COVID-19, reveals the 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey. This was one of the biggest surges in technology investment in history – with the world’s IT leaders spending more than their annual budget rise2 in just three months, as the global crisis hit, and lockdowns began to be enforced.
The largest technology leadership survey in the world of over 4,200 IT leaders, analyzing responses from organizations with a combined technology spend of over US$250 billion, also found that security and privacy is the top investment during COVID-19, and cyber security (35%) is now the most “in demand” technology skill in the world. This is the first time a security related skill has topped the list of global technology skills shortages for over a decade.
Four in 10 IT leaders report that their company has experienced more cyber attacks, with more than three quarters of these attacks from phishing (83%) and almost two thirds from malware (62%), suggesting that the massive move to home working has increased exposure from employees.
Although technology spend has risen dramatically during the pandemic, the survey found that technology budgets will be under more strain over the year ahead. Prior to COVID-19, over half (51%) of IT leaders expected a budget rise in the next 12 months, but during the pandemic this number declined to 43%. This still represents a net increase in budgets and remains almost twice as high as IT spend in 2009 – in the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
Other key findings from the world’s largest technology survey include:
- Digital companies pull away – Digital Leaders3 were more likely than non-digital leaders to make additional technology investments as a result of COVID-19 – with 50% more organizations that are ‘very’ or ‘extremely effective’ at using digital technologies spending an additional 21-50%. These investments focused on large-scale implementations of Distributed Cloud (42%) and SaaS (34%). The crisis has served to emphasize a growing divide between organizations driving their strategy through technology, and those that aren’t.
- Concerns over mental health – 8 in 10 IT leaders during COVID-19 are concerned about the mental health of their teams, which has resulted in 6 in 10 IT leaders (58%) putting programs in place to support their staff.
- Cloud investment up – Investment in security and privacy is the most important technology investment during COVID-19 (47%), and investment in infrastructure/cloud is the third most important, with the number of IT leaders actively considering Distributed Cloud nearly doubling in just 12 months (from 11% to 21%).
- kills shortages – Prior to COVID-19, 2020 skills shortages remained close to an all-time high. Subsequently, shortages in tech talent have remained high, only marginally dropping compared to the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. In addition to cyber security skills (35%), the next three most scarce technology skills are organizational change management (27%), enterprise architecture (23%) and technical architecture and advanced analytics both at 22%.