The world’s largest technology leadership survey has found that companies have been spending the equivalent of around US$15 billion ($20.45 billion) more a week on technology to enable safe and secure home working during Covid-19.
 
The 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey said 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 began to be enforced.
 
Most notably, the survey found that despite this huge surge of spending, and security & privacy being the top investment during COVID-19, 4 in 10 IT leaders report that their company have suffered from 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 home working has increased exposure from employees.
 
As such, the survey reported that organisations have struggled to find skilled cyber security professionals to support this dramatic shift to homeworking – and report that cyber security 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. 
 
Physical workplace fast disappearing 
 
With employees working from home, their mental health has also been of concern to IT leaders, with eight in ten IT leaders expressing concern and almost six in ten IT leaders putting programs in place to support their staff.
 
“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, organisations will need to reformulate their employee offer to attract and retain the talent they need to support them through the pandemic, and beyond,” Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash Group said. 
 
Indeed, for most IT leaders, they are not expecting their staff back in the office anytime soon.  86% of IT leaders moved a significant part of their workforce to remote working, and 43% expect more than half of their employees to work from home after the pandemic.
 
The survey also pointed out work location and remote working has risen to become one of the five most important factors for engaging and retaining key technology talent during, and after, COVID-19. 
 
As such, it urges leaders to rethink how they attract and engage their employees in a world where physical location is “no longer a prime asset”.
 
Digitalisation accelerated in a pandemic 

 
The pandemic has also transformed how the companies view digital transformation and the implementation of emerging technologies. 
 
The survey revealed almost half (47%) of IT leaders said Covid-19 has permanently accelerated digital transformation and adoption of emerging technology, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and automation.
 
Small scale implementations of artificial intelligence and machine learning have also increased from 21% before COVID-19 to 24% now, which the survey said is a “significant jump in a period of only a few months”.
 
The respondents comprised of over 4,200 IT leaders, including participants based in Singapore, and analysed responses from organisations with a combined technology spend of over US$250 billion. 

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