87% of CIOs in ANZ will spend more on Cybersecurity in 2024: Gartner

Eighty-seven percent of Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) CIOs and technology executives revealed that cybersecurity will receive their largest increase in technology investment in 2024, as greater regulation and threats expand leadership focus on security, according to Gartner, Inc.’s annual global survey of CIOs and technology executives. This is up from 62% in 2023, and compares to 80% of CIOs globally.

“While a significant amount of focus has been directed towards generative AI (GenAI) this year, cybersecurity remains at the top of the investment list again given the highly publicised data breaches we’ve seen across ANZ over the past 12 months,” said Andy Rowsell-Jones, Analyst at Gartner.

“Every organisation’s risk and audit committee are worrying about a potential cybersecurity fallout and most industry regulators are actively pushing for improved competence.”

The 2024 Gartner CIO and Technology Executive Survey gathered data from 2,457 respondents in 84 countries, including 87 in ANZ across the public, private and non-profit sectors. Behind cybersecurity, 79% of ANZ CIOs are expected to direct the largest amount of new or additional funding in 2024 towards cloud platforms, followed by data analytics (78%).

Despite the recent hype, AI and machine learning is ranked in sixth place (62%), with investments directed towards increasing operational efficiency and bridging IT talent gaps.

"This will change, however, once organisations move past the proof-of-concept stage, particularly for GenAI,” said Rowsell-Jones.

“Currently only a small number of organisations are edging towards production with their GenAI trials – deployment is when the real investment starts.”

According to the survey, ANZ CIOs said the top three technologies they will decrease investments in next year are legacy infrastructure and data centre technologies (50%), ERP and next-generation compute technology (both 10%) and application modernisation (9%).

“While it’s surprising to see that investments in application modernisation will decrease next year, it’s unlikely that it has run its course,” said Rowsell-Jones.

“More likely, it has just been deprioritised in the face of other more pressing issues for ANZ CIOs.”

Democratising Digital Delivery with GenAI

ANZ CIOs have already been laying the foundation for democratised digital delivery with technologies such as low-code platforms, which 68% said they have deployed or plan to deploy in the next 24 months. ANZ CIOs said that GenAI is the top game-changing technology for next year, which will also rapidly advance the democratisation of digital delivery beyond the IT function. While only 10% of CIOs have already deployed GenAI technologies, over half (58%) say they will deploy over the next 24 months.

“GenAI platforms are reducing the barriers to adoption for software developers, which means the technology is poised for rapid deployment next year,” said Rowsell-Jones.

“ANZ CIOs should harness this capability and provide the guardrails to support and facilitate business technologists keen on GenAI adoption in the wider organisation.”

According to the survey, business priorities next year will mix customers and regulators with financial performance. ANZ CIOs cited excelling in customer or citizen experience (70%), ensuring compliance and minimising risks (57%) and improving operating margins (48%), as the most critical outcomes from digital technology investments.

“Interest in digital is undiminished, but ANZ organisations have become more realistic in their attitudes to it,” said Rowsell-Jones.

“Rather than trying to become the next digital giant, organisations are investing in digital enablement, either to improve cost and operational efficiencies, or to augment a traditional product set with digital capabilities so they can offer more services.”

The other leading emerging digital technologies that enterprises in ANZ have already deployed or plan on deploying in the next 24 months include AI/machine learning (76%), distributed cloud (62%) and 5G (57%).