Digital Transformation

AI and security are top priorities amidst barriers to transformation

  • Logicalis launches 10th annual report based on insights from 1,000 CIOs globally 
  • Major disruptive forces including AI and new cyber threats are dominating the priority list for CIOs signifying increase in their responsibilities
  • Nine in ten leaders plan to integrate AI into their organisations in 2024
  • 83% of CIOs experienced a severe cyber-attack in the past year

Logicalis, the leading global technology service provider, has today released its tenth annual CIO Report which reveals that AI, digital transformation and cybersecurity are the top priorities for tech leaders. According to the research, which surveyed over 1,000 CIOs globally, most (85%) organisations are investing in AI technologies with transformative potential in 2024, despite economic uncertainty.

The majority of CIOs feel internal pressure to quickly seize new tech opportunities. For example, 87% of respondents have already established AI workstreams and a similar number are investing in AI skills despite the technology being in the very early stages.

Yet CIOs’ excitement is not without apprehension: most technology leaders expressed worries about AI threatening their core business propositions and concerns about the challenges of effectively regulating AI use internally. Prudently, in response, 86% have kicked off formal AI policies. 

As well as AI, CIOs are facing a number of disruptive and challenging forces prompting them to continually reassess and rebalance priorities. Nearly all CIOs are facing barriers to implementing digital transformation, with many citing a lack of skills and digital vision. 

Rapidly evolving cyber threats, propelled by powerful technologies like quantum computing are also a key concern for CIOs in 2024. Despite improving cybersecurity, a staggering 83% of businesses suffered a cyber hack in 2023 resulting in significant business damage including unscheduled downtime, loss of revenue and customer data and regulatory fines. As a result, confidence remains low with only 43% of CIOs feeling fully prepared for another breach.

Reflecting on the findings of this year’s tenth-anniversary report, Bob Bailkoski, Global CEO of Logicalis Group said:

“In 2024 we’re seeing the culmination of disruptive forces for the CIO, from AI to advancing security threats. There is a sense from the respondents that the pace of digital transformation is involuntarily slowing down due to a shortage of available skills in the face of emerging technologies. CIOs face the dual dilemma of how to continue leading organisations with the aim to drive innovation and growth, while protecting their organisations from the evolving digital threat landscape.

The future tech leader needs to have a diverse set of skills from visionary thinking to strategic execution, becoming the master of the balancing act and choosing carefully where to focus”.

CIOs also recognised the importance of connectivity infrastructure in supporting innovative growth. The Internet of Things and Private 5G were key investment areas highlighted by respondents, with 93% investing in or planning to invest in Private 5G for uses including improving customer and employee experiences, real-time inventory and asset oversight, connecting remote areas, and even enabling new revenue streams.

Key findings on AI:

  • Integrating AI technologies will be the number one priority for CIOs this year. 
  • 86% are investing in AI skills and the same amount have kicked off formal AI policies.
  • 86% believe they will save costs throughout the organisation as a result of implementing AI.
  • 85% have, or are planning, budgets solely for AI development and implementation.
  • 72% of CIOs are apprehensive about the challenges of regulating AI.

Key findings on security:

  • Respondents believe malware and ransomware (41%) pose a significant risk to their organisation over the next 12 months, with a slightly similar portion saying the same for data breaches (36%) and phishing (35%).
  • Of the 83% who experienced a cyber-attack in 2023, the following were almost as equally common: fraud, third party-related compromise, hacktivism/website/social media defacement, denial of service/sabotage, data exfiltration, ransomware/extortion and cryptojacking.
  • Almost all of those who experienced an attack faced a relatively equal range of consequences: unscheduled downtime, reputation damage, loss of revenue, loss of customer data, loss of employee data, regulatory fines.
  • Only 43% of CIOs feel their business is completely prepared to handle another major security breach.

Key findings on connectivity:

  • For 75% of CIOs, connectivity infrastructure is a barrier to implementing IoT initiatives.
  • 93% of CIOs reported investing in or planning to invest in Private 5G for uses including improving customer and employee experiences (55%), real-time inventory (50%) and asset oversight (48%), connecting remote areas (48%), enabling new monetisation models (43%), predictive maintenance (40%) and robotics (28%).
  • 98% of CIOs are currently operating IoT initiatives such as workplace safety, remote monitoring and asset tracking.

Key findings on digital transformation:

  • 85% of CIOs state spending on digital transformation will increase in 2024
  • For the majority of respondents, spending across the following areas is set to increase: Digital Transformation, Customer Experience, Supply Chain Resilience, Risk Management, ESG, Talent Management, Business Automation and Efficiencies, Outsourced IT Management, Cloud Operating Costs
  • Nearly all (95%) face barriers in digital transformation, the top three being: the availability of skills, lack of clear digital vision and security concerns.

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