FSIs spending $6.55m on digital transformation

FSIs are spending a total of $6.55m every year on digital transformation equal to 3.5 times more digital investment than any other sector, according to new research.

Telstra, an Australian telecommunications and technology company, has published a report covering the impact of COVID-19 on European businesses and their digital transformation plans.

The research was based on interviews with 500 private sector IT and business decision makers in Europe.

Telstra’s research said 65 per cent of respondents saw a “dramatic rise” in cyberattacks on their organisation during the pandemic, which they attributed to COVID-19 presenting cybercriminals with increased opportunities to breach the defences of organisations.

Telstra said 44 per cent of businesses who reported increased pressure from phishing, while 43 per cent reported increased pressure from fake contact tracing apps and calls or from ransomware.

80 per cent of respondents in the energy, oil, gas and utilities sector saw a significant increase in cyberattacks, the greatest of any sector Telstra surveyed.

56 per cent cited improving cybersecurity as among the top priorities in their recovery strategy, ahead of the 51 per cent who said increasing the pace of digital transformation projects and the 50 per cent who said increasing investment in emerging technologies.

65 per cent of Telstra’s respondents said most or all of their organisation’s digital transformation and innovation projects are currently active, with only 28 per cent claiming to have fully executed their digital transformation.

However, 83 per cent of respondents agreed their organisation needs to increase the pace of its digital transformation, which Telstra said was unanimous across all the regions and verticals surveyed.

Telstra’s report also covered the amount organisations are allocating towards digital transformation and said European businesses have made vigorous investments in digital transformation despite the downturn, with respondents spending an average of over $2.28 million on projects since the start of 2020.

Telstra said this represented an average increase of 2.71 per cent.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is cited as the key technology being prioritised by 41 per cent of respondents, while 35 per cent of respondents said 5G, 34 per cent said Internet of Things (IoT), and 30 per cent said edge computing.

Respondents from the UK and Ireland were the most likely to report that their organisation is prioritising investment in AI, the Internet of Things, or 5G, with 53 per cent, 48 per cent and 37 per cent choosing these as priorities respectively.

Telstra said most businesses recognised the need to include their supply chain in digital transformation projects, and that 89 per cent of respondents agreed that its involvement could lead to improved success levels for their organisation.

24 per cent of Telstra’s respondents reported their organisation has fully adapted to the changes arising from the pandemic, with 26 per cent saying the same for their supply chain.

79 per cent of respondents had they believe that the agility of their organisation and its supply chain has increased because of the pandemic.

The research also covered business agility during the pandemic and the respondents' approach to cloud computing, only 23 per cent of respondents reported their organisation has a cloud-first strategy, with 49 per cent expressing a need to migrate more applications to the cloud.

The report also covered flexible working and said 40 per cent of respondents cited flexible working as the top enabler for business agility.

While most of Telstra’s respondents indicated they perceived an uptake of networking tools that enable flexible working, 71 per cent said they could see room for improvement within their organisation’s network.

36 per cent of Telstra’s respondents highlighted the agility to scale bandwidth up and down to meet demand as an area of improvement, while 35 per cent said automation and use of software defined network technology, and 30 per cent said optimisation of application performance.

“From our research, it’s heartening to note that organisations are moving in the right direction with their digital transformation strategies, with the majority identifying themselves as more agile than they were before,” said Matt Williams, head of Telstra. “However, agility is not the only factor in a business’ ability to survive through the pandemic.”

“Digital supply chains and protecting yourself from cyberattacks are mission critical.”

He added: “When these three elements are fully addressed – with cybersecurity underpinning the agenda – organisations will be able to emerge into the post-pandemic world with confidence.”

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