Outside services play a key role in business satisfaction.

Businesses across the globe know that there’s no escaping the inevitable truth that all types of technology are critical to their success. So, nine out of 10 businesses, globally, rely to some degree on outside service providers. And the most satisfied businesses are those who regularly or frequently tap outsourced expertise, according to a new report from CompTIA. 

In the trade organization’s recent report, “International Trends in Technology and Workforce,” firms that regularly or frequently outsource are significantly more likely to report excellent or good ROI (72%) compared to those who occasionally outsource (63%) or rarely/never do so (56%). More than half of respondents outsource or usie tech firms/expertise regularly (34%) or frequently (19%) in a typical year.  

“Certainly, technology plays a role in achieving corporate objectives, but technology alone will not produce the desired result,” according the report authors. 

So, what types of outside services are most commonly reported? Troubleshooting/repair/maintenance; consulting/advisory/strategy services; deployment; integration, such as cloud migration; cybersecurity related services; and software development. But that’s not all; business turn to partner firms for data/analytics, web design, and emerging tech. Additionally, one in four (25%) survey respondents report using managed services or use of a managed service provider (MSP) for ongoing IT management. 

While global technology industry spending is expected to reach almost $5.2 trillion in 2020, businesses have weighty concerns about cybersecurity readiness and a shortage of tech workers. Survey respondents lean toward having a favorable view of emerging technology. 

Cybersecurity spending is on the rise, as is increased focus on security, according to the report; however, a self-assessment of their cybersecurity posture shows that survey respondents need to employ more proactive measures, signaling a disconnect between what they say and what they do.

About seven in 10 firms describe their firm’s cybersecurity at a completely (24%) or mostly satisfactory (45%) level, with the remainder describing their firm’s approach as simply adequate (25%) or unsatisfactory (6%). 

Characteristics of those survey respondents reporting satisfactory levels at a significantly higher rate than their counterparts include large firms; tech and financial/banking/insurance sectors; those who frequently or regularly outsource tech, experience excellent or good tech ROI; and work in management. Compare that to survey respondents who self-assess their firm’s security as simply adequate or unsatisfactory: SMEs, those that aren’t so excited about emerging tech, only occasionally or rarely outsource tech, experience just OK or poor tech ROI, and are staff-level workers.

The top reported challenges to improving cybersecurity include: belief that current efforts are “good enough”; low understanding of new threats; lack of budget dedicated to cybersecurity; prioritization of other technology investments; and lack of metrics to demonstrate effectiveness. 

The report authors note that security underpins many facets of emerging technology, a technology trend covered in the report. This includes innovations in the early to mid stages of adoption, such as drones, or 3-D printers, or enabling technologies such as AI or blockchain, embedded or serving as a platform for countless products or services. 

Emerging tech spending is expected to account for about 17% of overall technology spending in 2020, according to IDC. 

Again, the lion’s share of survey respondents are positive or excited about emerging technology and where it’s headed. Survey results show a correlation between those businesses reporting a high level of ROI with their current technology spending and excitement for emerging tech. 

The significant concerns about the skills gap reported by managers in the CompTIA survey include a mix of newer tech areas as well as more core as technologies progress. Respondent’s concerns include: emerging technology such as AI, automation, AI, blockchain, etc. (57%); cybersecurity (55%) ; integrating different apps, data sources, platforms and devices (55%); software or application development (54%); and, digital business transformation/modernizing legacy hardware or software (54%). 

The CompTIA report is based on an online survey of 1,554 business and technology professionals from 14 countries.