Cyber-Security is the top concern of business leaders, & the area where leaders feel their knowledge is most lacking, says research conducted by events & technology company GDS Group.
Results from senior leaders at the 300 global companies polled on behalf of Meet the Boss, an online roundtable platform & subsidiary brand of GDS Group, indicated cyber-security remains their top priority.
However, the research reveals that AI & automation are the least important topics for IT leaders right now, despite the subject being classified by board-level respondents as a “very high priority”.
In its 1st Business Technology Barometer survey, GDS anonymously polled over 300 Meet the Boss event delegates at VP & director level or above from major global organisations, of which 150 were IT leaders specifically. The research was independently conducted & analysed by Boost Evaluation Limited.
Lack of Knowledge Around IT Security
The survey asked those in technology leadership roles, “Please rate how relevant / important these hot topics are to your role” & asked respondents to give an importance score out of 10.
Cyber-Security achieved the highest score of 9.0, closely followed by Cloud Strategy (8.5) & Digital Transformation (8.4). What was surprising, however, was that Internet of Things (IoT) & AI/Automation received the lowest scores (5.0 and 7.5 respectively).
To discover any knowledge gaps that might exist, companies were also asked, “Rate your knowledge level on the following topics”. The largest gap between the relevance/importance of a topic & the level of knowledge felt by respondents was revealed in cyber-security, with an importance score of 9.0 & knowledge of just 7.2.
As a part of this survey, GDS also asked 37 board level contacts what topics they thought were the most important to them. In contrast to technology leaders, they rated AI/Automation as 1 of the most important topics with an extremely high score of 8.0/10.0, indicating a disconnect in priorities down the chain of command.
Keen to Learn
This research showed that business leaders have a real desire for knowledge on most topics & are very flexible with how they approach their learning. While there is a small preference for face-to-face learning, they are just as comfortable learning from digital content, digital training courses & virtual conferences & roundtables.
The survey required, “Please rate how useful the following are in helping you learn about hot topics.” There was no method of learning that stood out as a clear winner.
Face to face training & digital content got the best average scores (7.7 & 7.4), despite these being opposites in terms of investment (time & money) & degree of interactivity.
Digital Training Courses
2nd equal were digital training courses, which strike a balance between ease of attendance & interactivity, written content, which allows self-paced learning, & virtual round tables which achieve high levels of human interaction with only a small investment of time involved.
Methods of learning which require little investment of time & money received the same scores as methods which were extremely expensive & time-consuming.
Spencer Green, the Founder & Chairman of GDS observed he was “surprised” to see that AI & automation is not currently a top priority for technology leaders. He commented: “As a relatively new trend, we expect it will climb the ranks as we see more evidence of its ability to transform businesses.
The high interest we found among board level contacts in AI/automation provides another indication that this will become a key trend.
Cloud & Digital Transformation
While interest in cyber-security, data, cloud & digital transformation remain as high as ever, so it is vital for us to help our clients to inform and educate business leaders in these areas.”
Green added that business leaders have ‘little preference’ for 1 method over another. “They are simply eager to learn,” he stated. “Leaders know that those who adapt to the challenges that come their way will prosper, so it is inspiring to see them leading by example here.”