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Security is the top priority in this digital transformation era

  • Security remains the top IT funding priority across all regions and almost all industries – 44% of respondents calling it a top 3 funding priority.
  • The most common digital transformation challenge that companies are grappling with is talent and skill gaps.

Digital transformation has been a whirlwind, turning the traditional business landscape upside down. Just like a whirlwind, digital transformation has been a powerful force, reshaping how organizations operate, communicate, and deliver value to their customers. However, as technology has advanced and the digital ecosystem has grown more complex, digital transformation now covers various initiatives, such as security.

Businesses increasingly communicate and reach out to customers in new ways. The rise of digital channels like social media, mobile apps, and websites has made it easier for businesses to connect with clients and provide personalized experiences.

According to Meltwater’s State of Social Media 2023 report, most organizations use at least four of the most popular social media platforms as part of their strategy. 77% of companies plan to keep or increase their social media budgets in 2023, and 60% claim that the economy’s current state has made social media more significant to their company.

However, this exposure is just fueling an increase in cyberattacks. This exposure makes businesses more susceptible to data breaches, drastically damaging their reputation and financial standing. That’s why security plays a crucial role in digital transformation. Red Hat has provided its outlook for 2023, concluding that security should be given top priority as digital transformation continues.

Here’s what the company has to say.

Results from Red Hat’s ninth Global Tech Outlook survey are in, and, as in years past, we explore what the data reveals about where organizations are in their digital transformation initiatives, IT and non-IT funding priorities, and challenges they are facing. We surveyed 1,700+ information technology (IT) leaders worldwide, across various industries to help us better understand new aspects of technology use and track trends. Here, we highlight key findings and trends from the report and how these results have changed over time.

No surprise: Security remains priority #1.

Security remains the top IT funding priority across all regions and almost all industries, with 44% of respondents calling it a top 3 funding priority— 8 points higher than the second highest priority, cloud infrastructure. Specifically, network security (40%) and cloud security (38%) were the top priorities, while third-party or supply chain risk management (12%) and security or compliance staffing (13%) ranked as the lowest security funding priorities.

Security was also at the top of the list across many other categories. Cloud security was the top cloud infrastructure priority (42%). Data security and integrity was the top analytics funding priority (45%), edging out artificial intelligence (AI) / machine learning (ML). Security automation (35%) beat out cloud services automation (33%) and network automation (30%) as the top automation priority. Lastly, 3 out of 4 respondents “somewhat increased” or “significantly increased” their investments in securing access by applications to other applications, data sources, or both, this year.

Question 5.8: Over the next 12 months, what are your company’s top funding priorities for big data and analytics?

Question 5.8: Over the next 12 months, what are your company’s top funding priorities for big data and analytics?

Digital transformation priorities shift.

While there was not much change in companies’ digital transformation journeys compared to last year, the top two digital transformation priorities shifted significantly. In past years, innovation has been the transformation imperative, and rightly so. This year, however, innovation is not the most significant priority for transformation work. Security took the new top position with a 3-point increase from last year to 20%. Innovation dropped 5 points, with 19% now identifying it as their top priority for digital transformation.

Question 2.2: If you were to characterize your absolute top priority for your company’s digital transformation in a single term, which of the following would best fit?

Question 2.2: If you were to characterize your absolute top priority for your company’s digital transformation in a single term, which of the following would best fit?

We have a few theories about the decrease in prioritization of innovation from year to year. In past years, the question allowed for respondents to select multiple priorities. This year, we asked respondents to choose one priority from the list of options to see if homing in on the top priority would yield the same or different rankings. Given many high-profile security threats and data breaches this year, security is naturally top of mind in this digital transformation era — and again, rightfully so. Separately, the survey data shows an increase in companies in the accelerating phase of their digital transformation efforts (now 23%), showing no slowdown in companies’ innovation plans.

Talent gaps remains the top digital transformation barrier.

Mirroring last year, the most common digital transformation challenge that companies are grappling with is talent and skill gaps. With an increasing focus on IT automation, security and AI/ML, IT leaders are rightfully concerned that progress in these important initiatives could be stalled without the proper skills and talent. Organizational culture, people and processes are just as essential to digital transformation success as technology.

Among non-IT funding priorities outside of IT, 37% of respondents chose both digital transformation strategy and technical / technology skills training. People / process skills training came in third (30%), with IT or developer hiring and retention just behind (28%). All of this year’s top non-IT funding priorities involve upskilling and people, perhaps speaking to evolving market conditions and a tight labor market, and pushing companies to get more creative about how they not only define their strategy and priorities, but also how they recruit, retain, and reskill.

Question 6.2: Over the next 12 months, what are your company’s top funding priorities outside of IT technology products or solutions?

Question 6.2: Over the next 12 months, what are your company’s top funding priorities outside of IT technology products or solutions?

Find out more in the report.

The report has a wealth of additional insights, such as cloud strategies, industry data, automation plans, and more. For a deeper analysis, check out our 2023 Global Tech Outlook and learn more about how enterprises plan to modernize their IT approach in the coming year.

Survey methodology

In May and June 2022, Red Hat surveyed 1,703 information technology leaders, with more than half of the respondents working at companies with more than US$100 million in revenue. The respondents comprised a subset of Red Hat customers together with others drawn from a broad industry panel.








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