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Companies see significant potential in emerging technology investments:

  • More than 80 percent of companies surveyed are investing or planning to invest in emerging technologies.
  • Four areas—smart analytics, process automation, hybrid cloud, and cybersecurity—are attracting dollars from virtually every enterprise that participated in our survey (99 percent).
  • 46 percent of executives surveyed said their company is making investments to take advantage of opportunities resulting from COVID-19 impacts.
  • The overall level of investment varies, but approximately one-third of respondent organizations are investing more than US$10 million, with an average of $16 million annually per technology.

Despite high expectations and activity, most companies are achieving softer-than-expected impacts from their emerging technology investments. Based on their own internal assessments, less than one-third of respondent organizations are driving tangible business value from emerging technologies, with process automation the lone exception.

According to our research, the overall level of investment in emerging technologies correlates with the strength of returns. Companies with higher overall investments in emerging technologies are seeing stronger returns than those with lower investments. Companies in the highest investment quartile for seven of eight technology areas achieved significantly greater realized value than companies in the lowest investment quartile. In two areas—edge computing and AI—companies with the highest level of investment were significantly more likely to say they have already seen value from their investment.