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Business Leaders Are Clear on 2023 Plans to Invest in Tech

It may not be clear what the economy will do in 2023, but business leaders appear to be clearly positioning themselves to compete in the New Year by investing in technology. A new study commissioned by IBM and conducted by Morning Consult found more than three in four business leaders (78%) plan to invest in tech during the next 12 months. Respondents across the board report their drive to invest is motivated by profitability more so than customer demand.

Interestingly, the study shows some of the same factors are simultaneously driving and hindering technology investments. For example, 33% of respondents listed cyber risks as a factor that’s driving their technology investments, while 29% said it’s hindering their investments. Similarly, 28% said supply chain issues are driving tech investment, while 26% said supply chain issues are hindering it. Inflation, labor shortages, and the need to reduce costs and automate key processes are all similar in that nearly equal percentages listed them as drivers and hinderances.

In the next couple of years, 5G, cybersecurity, the IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), and cloud computing are the top five tech investments business leaders say they’re planning to make, based on the study. Other key technology investments in the next two years will include green IT solutions, supply chain solutions, AR (augmented reality)/VR (virtual reality)/XR (extended reality), and edge computing.

Businesses will also be investing in sustainability, according to the report. The top two reasons for investing in technologies to improve sustainability are environmental pressures (43%) and supply chain issues (36%). More than 60% of business leaders say they’ll be investing in solutions that help “manage assets, facilities, and infrastructure to drive clean energy transition, efficient waste management, and decarbonization.” More than 60% also say they plan to invest in solutions that drive more sustainable operations. About half (52%) reported their companies will be investing in solutions that help support a more circular and sustainable supply chain.

As global business leaders look ahead to the next 3-5 years, the IBM/Morning Consult study shows the top three emerging technologies these leaders expect will change their businesses are digital employees, generative AI, and computational storage. Gartner defines generative AI as “AI techniques that learn a representation of artifacts from the data and use it to generate brand-new, completely original artifacts that preserve a likeness to original data.” Acumen Research suggests the market for generative AI will reach $110.8 billion by 2030. Also, on the list of emerging technologies respondents expect to change their businesses are digital twins, quantum computing, and metaverse—although just 11% saw metaverse as a game changer for their businesses in the next 3-5 years.

Amidst economic uncertainty, inflation, ongoing global conflict, and continued supply chain woes, the fact that so many global business leaders are dead set on technology investment makes it clear how important tech solutions can be for keeping businesses on track. The ability to remain competitive and do more with less is more important than ever. Technology investments are also helping businesses achieve sustainability goals and compensate for overarching business challenges like labor shortages and supply chain issues.

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