Digital Workspace top IT priority for manufacturing sector, new research reveals

A new report from Softcat offers an exclusive snapshot of the manufacturing IT landscape and what technologies organisations are prioritising in the year ahead.

The findings are based on the views of nearly 1,250 organisations in the UK and Ireland, across 23 industries, including manufacturing.

Looking at a sector level, the report reveals 69% of manufacturing companies are now prioritising Digital Workspace solutions above all other technology areas.

As industry 4.0 and new work styles underpin transformation in the manufacturing industry, companies are leveraging the power of Digital Workspace solutions.

Digital Workspace solutions put people first and technology second. They enable true collaboration and deliver a great user experience by securely connecting people, applications, data and devices together, helping employees to do their job seamlessly – wherever they are.


Smart,Industry,Control,Concept.hands,Holding,Tablet,On,Blurred,Automation,Machine. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


After Digital Workspace solutions, Cyber Security is the second most cited technology investment area for the next year, with 55% of manufacturing organisations saying it’s an important part of their IT strategy.

As digital transformation accelerates in the manufacturing sector, more data is being created, stored and shared, making the threat of cybercrime greater than ever.

With the industry relying on technology for the production of goods and as the supply chain becomes more digitally connected, a cyber-attack can have huge implications for companies, the wider supply chain and the end consumer.

Therefore, cyber resilience is now a high priority and organisations are being encouraged to take a proactive rather than reactive approach to securing networks, devices and data.

Networking is ranked as the third most important IT priority within manufacturing, according to the study, with 42% of respondents citing it.

A new era of networking in manufacturing is emerging, where virtualization is allowing companies to deploy and manage network resources as logical services rather than physical resources. Real-time analytics, powered by the network and collected on the factory floor can further improve efficiency, reduce downtime and lower costs.

Importantly, organisations were also able to rank sustainability as a focus for the first time. And 12% of those in the manufacturing sector cited sustainability as an important factor in their IT strategy for the coming year, signalling a shift towards greener and more ethically conscious decision making.

Technology has a vital role to play in supporting organisations in meeting their sustainability goals, to ensure compliance with tightening legislation and help the global community meet science-backed climate targets. 

Richard Wyn Griffith, Managing Director of Softcat commented on the findings:

“Over the past 18 months or so, the manufacturing sector has been heavily challenged; working hard to limit the impact on business-as-usual or respond to unprecedented surges and pivots in demand.

“People, empowered by technology, have made navigating this uncertain and disruptive period possible. And this will only continue as we learn to live and thrive with new ways of working.”

The full findings from the 2021 Softcat Business Tech Priorities Report, including expert analysis, can be downloaded here.