ISACA Releases New Research on Global Emerging Tech Trends: Cloud and AI Top Adoption, Training Gaps a Concern

May 18, 2021

Emerging technologies can bring the potential for increased efficiencies, cost savings and improved security for enterprises, among other benefits—but also risk that must be weighed when considering adoption. A new ISACA survey report, The Pulse: Emerging Technology 2021, offers insights into how global IT and business professionals view the benefits, risks, adoption barriers, knowledge gaps, and leadership’s willingness to adopt new tech.


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More than 4,500 members of global technology association and learning organization ISACA weighed in on emerging technologies in a new study that examined benefits, risk, adoption barriers, knowledge gaps, leadership’s willingness to adopt new tech and more. The findings will help IT professionals prepare for the future in a continuously evolving tech landscape. (Graphic: Business Wire)


This inaugural survey, which gathered responses from 4,541 professionals worldwide, first assessed how respondents define emerging technology. The top three characteristics classifying a technology as emerging, per respondents, are technologies with significant disruptive capabilities, technologies with significant problem-solving capacity, and technologies that are recent discoveries.


The survey also revealed that senior leadership generally supports emerging technology adoption, with 81 percent of respondents indicating that their leadership provides moderate to very receptive support. Cloud (59 percent), AI (34 percent) and the Internet of Things (IoT) (27 percent) come in as the top emerging technologies used at enterprises, with the following cited as the main motivation for adopting these and other emerging technologies:


Anticipated cost savings (73 percent)

Improved cybersecurity (57 percent)

To meet regulatory requirements (52 percent)

Increased agility (51 percent)

New revenue stream (50 percent)

The ability to reach new customers (50 percent)


However, as much as cost savings drives enterprises to adopt emerging technologies, it also can give them pause—72 percent indicate cost of implementation is a top reason for resistance, followed by 44 percent who cite cybersecurity risk and 42 percent who indicate unclear business objectives as holding them back from implementation.


“When business objectives are clear and risk is appropriately assessed and managed, emerging technologies can bring transformative benefits to an organization,” says Dustin Brewer, ISACA senior director, emerging technology and innovation. “As the survey findings show, there are varying levels of adoption depending on the technology, but signs that leadership is keeping a close eye on technologies, including IoT and blockchain, to consider for future use if not already implemented.”


Ninety-one percent of respondents agree that training and continuous education are essential for technology professionals, with 81 percent indicating they would like to pursue more training on cloud technologies, and 69 percent expressing moderate-to-high interest in training for AI. However, 41 percent indicate that their enterprises are not investing enough in people skills to successfully navigate the changing technology landscape. The findings indicate that leadership is aware of this issue, as 48 percent of the respondents identifying as executive leadership agree that investment in training is insufficient.


“Prioritizing people and investing in emerging technology training is key to not only achieving success with technology implementation but also ensuring the workforce has the cutting-edge skills needed in today’s evolving tech landscape,” says David Samuelson, ISACA CEO.