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Companies spent US$15 bil extra a week on tech during first wave of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic forced one of the biggest surges in technology investment in history, according to a global survey of 4,200 IT leaders.

Companies spent the equivalent of around US$15 billion extra a week on technology to enable safe and secure work from home (WFH) environments 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 rise in just three months, as the global crisis hit, and lockdowns were enforced.

Despite this huge surge in spending, with security and privacy being the top investment during COVID-19, 4 in 10 IT leaders report that their company has experienced more cyber-attacks.

Over three quarters of these attacks were from phishing (83%), and almost two thirds from malware (62%) suggesting that the massive move to WFH status has increased exposure from employees.

At the same time, organizations struggled to find skilled cyber security professionals to support this dramatic shift to WFH – and report that 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. 

“IT in the New Reality will be shaped by economic recovery patterns unique to each sector, location, and company. While every CIO is responding to these forces differently, one thing remains consistent; the urgency to act swiftly and decisively. Technology has never been more important to organizations’ ability to survive and thrive,” said Steve Bates, Principal, KPMG in the US and global leader of KPMG International’s CIO Center of Excellence.

Besides technology and staffing concerns, the survey also highlighted mental health.  8 in 10 IT leaders were concerned about the mental health of their team, which resulted in 6 in 10 IT leaders (58%) putting programs in place to support their staff.

This is a real concern as 86% of IT leaders have moved a significant part of their workforce to remote working, and 43% expect more than half of their employees to WFH after the pandemic.

Work location and remote working has also risen to become one of the five most important factors for engaging and retaining key technology talent during, and after, COVID-19. Leaders will therefore need to rethink how they attract and engage their employees in a world where physical location is no longer a prime asset.

 “This unexpected and unplanned surge in technology investment has also been accompanied by massive changes in how organizations operate – with more organizational change in the last six months than we have seen in the last ten years. Success will largely be about how organizations deal with their culture and engage with their people. In a world where location has dissolved, where the office now includes the kitchen table, and where over 80% of IT leaders are concerned about the mental health of their teams, organizations will need to reformulate their employee offer to attract and retain the talent they need to support them through the pandemic, and beyond,” said Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash Group.

By Editorial Team / September 22, 2020

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