Worldwide spending on information technology (IT) across all industries is set to top $3.76 trillion (£2.88 trillion) this year, thanks to the growth in enterprise software and the emergence of the cloud.
According to a CNBC report, research firm Gartner predicts spending to grow 3.2 per cent on last year, including up to $125 billion (£95 billion) on cybersecurity alone.
7-Eleven’s chief digital, information and marketing officer Gurmeet Singh told the publication that the main focus for any business spending on tech, not just in the retail sector, should be to understand their customer.
“Our biggest threat is understanding the customer, who the customer is today and who it will be tomorrow,” Singh said.
“What people miss, what we have been clear about, is saying, ‘Do not start with digital, be customer-obsessed and digitally enabled, and those are very carefully chosen words.”
7-Eleven has around 68,000 stores worldwide and is currently involved in numerous industry-leading tech initiatives including on-demand delivery, a Facebook chatbot, Amazon Lockers, a scan and pay app and ongoing AI and augmented reality programmes.
Singh added that technology is “just the facilitator of experience” and should not be the key focus for businesses, despite spending on tech skyrocketing.
“We were deliberate in strategy not saying we were creating the store of the future. That is where retailers miss the point. … The framework which applies to any industry is to ask, ‘How do I create experiences of the future for the customer?’ Bringing the right experience, whether inside or outside the store, that is what I worry about.”
Furthermore, CVS Health’s chief security officer Jim Routh warns that the cybersecurity threats to private businesses are growing.
“Nation-state-sponsored threat actors are initiating attacks for political reasons that impact private industries as collateral damage from the cyberattack,” he said.
“Five years ago nation-state-sponsored cybercriminals weren’t as brazen in attacks on private infrastructure. Today that has fundamentally changed.”
Routh continued that the need for an increased tech budget will continue to grow and shows no signs of slowing down, meaning it could easily exceed $4 trillion in 2020.