Education sector prioritises “utility technologies” over #BigData #IoT and #AI

The education sector ranked End User Computing & Mobility as its biggest technology priority, with cyber security the second biggest technology priority.

Softcat, a FTSE 250 listed company and leading provider of business technology solutions and services, has surveyed over 1,600 of its customers* across 18 different industries to reveal the biggest 2020 technology priorities.

Innovations in technology can disrupt the education sector. Cloud technology allows resources to be stored on a school’s cloud terminal, which students can access from their homes. 3D printers allow content previously taught via textbooks to be expressed through 3D models.

However, the education sector is not prioritising these emerging technologies but rather ‘Utility technologies’ like End User Computing, reflected in its ranking in Softcat’s report:

Technology priority

Education sector ranking

End User Computing & Mobility

1

Cyber security

2

Networking

3

Software & Asset Management

4

Datacentre & Cloud

5

Communication

6

Data Regulations & Compliance

7

Print

8

Big Data/IoT/AI

9

Managed/Support Services

10

Other

11

 

Cybercrime is a growing threat in the education sector, reflected in the ranking of this priority in second place. The sector is widely recognised as a top target for computer hackers, so it’s vitally important that schools offer cybersecurity to staff and have technical protections in place.

According to research, 55 percent of UK firms have experienced a cyber-attack in 2019, up 15 percent compared to last year, signifying a growing threat.

Softcat’s findings show how seriously UK businesses are taking such statistics, with 83 percent of industries ranking cyber security as their biggest technology priority.

The construction industry and two public sectors - education and healthcare – rank End User Computing & 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.

Print services are rated as the lowest priority for businesses, but surprisingly emerging technologies (Big Data, IoT and AI) also score poorly.

Surprisingly, emerging technologies are the second lowest tech priority for the third year running, despite the hype surrounding the areas where the UK has the potential to be a global leader.

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.

Softcat’s expert technologists commented on the findings:

Adam Louca, Chief Technologist - Security, Softcat, said:

“Cyber security continues to be the number one priority for most organisations. This year, we’ve seen the first enforcement actions as part of GDPR, proving the ICO isn’t afraid to punish those falling short of the mark.

“Investing in security by design not only reduces risk but enables organisations to take advantage of new technologies more rapidly.”

Dean Gardner, Chief Technologist – Cloud, Softcat, said:

“The need for convenience and speed will shape the future of cloud as it adapts to the sheer amount of global data held.

“A hybrid cloud model will become the norm, helping organisations avoid vendor lock-in and stay agile in today’s fast-paced digital race.”

Adam Harding, Chief Technologist – End User Computing, Softcat, said:

“The intensifying war for talent and ongoing disruption from every angle means many organisations are focusing on improving employee engagement.

“Improving the digital workspace, is one the best ways businesses can both protect and amplify a culture which makes them appeal to new talent.”

Craig Lodzinski, Chief Technologist – Data and Emerging Technologies, Softcat, said:

 “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. 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.”

*2019 survey findings based on a sample of 1,663 private and public sector organisations in the UK and Ireland across 18 different industries.

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