UK IT decision makers are the most likely to prioritise AI while US firms are the most focused on emerging technologies, finds Colt research

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Research across 12 countries finds network flexibility and security improvements are top priorities overall as one in three integrates AI as a priority

Colt Technology Services, the digital infrastructure company, today revealed insights uncovered by its research of almost 1000 IT decision makers in 12 countries across Europe and Asia*. Of all countries surveyed, the UK was the most likely to prioritise AI and machine learning capabilities with 40% listing it in their top three priorities. Nearly one in two (47%) US IT decision makers cited emerging technologies in their top three, while 59% of Japan’s IT decision makers in the survey said they prioritised network flexibility. Overall, one in three businesses cites AI and emerging technologies in their top three.

Across all countries, improving security was the highest priority cited by more than one in two (53%) respondents, followed by network flexibility improvements listed by 44%. Enabling new collaboration and communication applications was the next on the list, called out by 39% of IT decision makers.

Topline findings include:

34% are prioritising the implementation of emerging technologies e.g. Metaverse
33% are looking at adding AI or machine learning capabilities
More than one in four (26%) cited SD WAN as a key priority
35% cited moving to the cloud as a top priority
While more than one in three (34%) specifically called out enabling a remote workforce as a priority, all the technologies prioritised across the regions are critical in helping IT decision makers enable the agile, secure, hybrid workforce of the future.

Keri Gilder, CEO, Colt Technology Services said, “We’re experiencing one of the most monumental periods of change in our history. Connected digital technologies have already transformed the way we live and work. Right now, AI, machine learning and the metaverse are fundamentally changing the way we engage, transact and interact, but these technologies will only reach their full potential if they’re built on agile, scalable digital networks.” She continued, “Our research reflects this: we’re seeing IT managers prioritise secure, agile networking capabilities like SD WAN and Cloud alongside security, AI and the metaverse. As we head deeper into the latest industrial revolution, it’s digital infrastructure’s time to shine.”

Key findings by country include:


Japan: IT decision makers in Japan were most focused on improving network flexibility, with almost six in ten (59%)  citing it as a priority. Rolling out SD WAN solutions was named by 44%, followed by 42% prioritising improving security – the lowest of all countries.

Singapore: IT decision makers in Singapore cited improving security (54%) and network flexibility (49%) as key priorities, followed by new collaboration and communications applications (43%).

Hong Kong: 45% of IT decision makers surveyed in Hong Kong cited enabling a remote workforce as a top priority – the highest of all countries in the survey. 55% said they are prioritising security, and 42% new collaboration and communications applications.



France: 53% of IT decision makers listed improving security in their top three priorities. New collaboration and communication applications were a top priority for 41%, and the same percentage is focused on enabling a remote workforce

Germany: improving security was the most common priority (53%) for IT decision makers in Germany, followed by  network flexibility cited by 44% of respondents. Moving to the cloud and new collaboration and communications applications were both cited by 43%.

UK: more decision makers in the UK prioritised AI and machine learning than any other region (40% compared with 33% average across all regions). Improving security (48%) and rolling out new collaboration applications (44%) were also high priorities.

Italy: IT decision makers in Italy were most likely to name new collaboration and communication applications in their top three – a priority for 53%, compared with an overall average of 39%. Their highest priority was improving security (58%) while 39% named improving network flexibility

Spain: 57% of IT decision makers surveyed in Spain named improving security as a priority. 42% named network flexibility, and 39% enabling a remote workforce in their top three.

Netherlands: IT decision makers in the Netherlands were most likely across the survey to prioritise moving to the cloud (43%, eight percentage points above the average). Improving security is the most commonly-named priority (55%) and rolling out new collaboration and communication applications was listed by 43%.

Sweden and Denmark**: IT decision makers in these regions were the most likely of all in the study to name improving security as a priority, named by almost seven in ten (69% compared with overall average of 53%). Improving network flexibility was the next highest priority named by 46%, and 38% were focused on enabling a remote workforce.

North America

US: almost one in two (47%) of IT decision makers surveyed in the US cited implementing emerging technologies as a priority. This was the highest across the survey, 13 percentage points above the 34% average. The same percentage (47%) cited improving network flexibility as a priority, while improving security was the most commonly stated priority at 52%.

* Methodology: 953 IT decision makers were questioned in December 2022 in an online survey on their IT priorities for the 12 months from January 2023. The countries in the survey comprised Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, the UK, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the USA. Respondents are screened from a worldwide panel of participants. This panel includes an Anti-fraud system, postal address verification, panel quality scoring, digital fingerprinting and double opt-in verification. The survey was conducted 100% online within a 3-week time frame in November/December 2022.

**The base for Sweden and Denmark is smaller than other countries – 52 in total. The data has been converged for the two regions due to the sample size. Netherlands also had a small sample size (40 respondents) and Hong Kong had a sample size of 60.