CFOtech UK - Technology news for CFOs & financial decision-makers
Story image
Technology investment to fast track UK enterprise growth: Expereo
Fri, 23rd Jun 2023

UK CIOs of large global enterprises are increasing investment in technology to drive growth through global expansion in the next 12 months, according to new research announced by Expereo. The research of over 200 CIOs in the UK shows that half (48%) have secured increased technology budgets precisely to deliver growth and overcome existing challenges.

The new insights, which are part of a global survey of over 650 CIOs in businesses with over US$500 million in annual revenues across Europe, the US and APAC, also show that nearly 4 in ten UK CIOs (38%) feel that their global business ambitions are constrained by legacy connectivity and management systems. It also highlights that organisations may be missing growth opportunities by failing to prioritise geographic regions with some of the world's fastest-growing economies due to perceived complexity and challenges to market entry.

“The biggest businesses in the UK and across the globe are moving faster to the future. They are focusing on driving growth through global expansion, despite the complexities and challenges to overcome," says Ben Elms, chief revenue officer at Expereo.

“The business-critical nature of connectivity in today's world combined with an increasingly complex landscape – from security, regulation, skills and often challenging physical and geopolitical infrastructure - means this is no easy task. However, it is achievable. Those that find a way to simplify, automate and scale their operations will be in the best position to reap the rewards and deliver growth."

According to the research, UK CIOs have the most positive outlook globally after China, as 40% and 45%, respectively, describe their organisations' current attitudes to growth as optimistic, and a quarter (25%) are ambitious for the next 12 months. Almost half (48%) of respondents claim global boards have already increased technology budgets to help drive this.

AI/ML (60%), security (58%), and automation and analytics (58%) were identified as the top three areas set for increased tech investments in the UK in the next four months, closely followed by 5G (57%), edge computing (55%), SaaS (54%), public and hybrid cloud (52%), and WAN (50%). CIOs claim that this investment will drive global growth by ensuring the prioritisation of increased innovation (44%), new products (41%), and expansion into new markets (36%).

Almost half (45%) of CIOs claimed that establishing and managing connectivity in new markets is the single most critical factor in ensuring successful global expansion, and a third (34%) said that their board views global connectivity as a business asset critical to growth. Still, some challenges need to be overcome.

When explicitly asked about the biggest challenge to delivering global growth in new regions, 38% said that effectively establishing connectivity in new regions is one of the significant challenges in their role, 34% said it is a major challenge for their organisation, and 38% revealed that their organisations' business ambitions are constrained by legacy connectivity. Additional challenges identified were skills and resource retention (39%), security environments (31%), complicated physical and geopolitical infrastructure (31%), legacy systems (29%) and local knowledge (28%).

Responses indicated that UK enterprises might fail to prioritise the fastest-growing economies due to perceived complexities.

When asked where their organisation saw the most significant opportunity for growth, North America and Europe dominated the top five. Western Europe (33%) took the throne, followed by North America (30%), the Middle East (30%), Northern Europe (30%) and Eastern Europe (25%).

UK CIOs perceive Asian markets as the most technologically challenging region to do business in regarding the local knowledge of providers (53%), agility (58%), and security (53%).

Given that the IMF's most recent World Economic Outlook Report showed that growth projections in advanced economies were 1.4% for 2024 while emerging and developing markets were 4.2%, it is surprising that neither the Greater China Area nor Central and South Asia appears in the top five priority regions for growth. Each includes two of the fastest-growing economies in the world - China and India. Perhaps this is because both appear consistently in the top five most challenging regions.

“Realising the growth opportunities that global expansion can deliver will be critical to the world economy in these challenging times. CIOs need to completely focus on supercharging this strategic growth wherever they are doing business in the world; not grappling with unnecessary logistical and connectivity challenges. That’s what Expereo is here for. We simplify and automate this, allowing our customers to get on with business,” concludes Elms.