ISACA Releases New Research on Global Emerging Tech Trends

Schaumburg, Ill. (May 18, 2021) — Emerging technologies can bring with them 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 survey report from ISACA, 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.


This inaugural survey, which gathered responses from 4,541 professionals around the world, 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.


Leadership Support and Key Motivations


The survey findings 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 in use 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."


Training is Important but Lacking


Ninety-one percent of respondents agree that training and continuous education are essential for technology professionals, with 81 percent indicating they would like to specifically 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.


Hope and Optimism for the Future


Though the survey reveals the complexities that enterprises and professionals are experiencing when navigating emerging technologies, a majority of respondents note that they are optimistic about the impact that emerging technology will have on their careers (65 percent), their organization (62 percent) and the general public (57 percent).


To read more, access a complimentary copy of The Pulse: Emerging Technology 2021, insights from industry leaders and related resources at ISACA offers additional emerging technology resources, trainings and credentials, including the new Certified in Emerging Technology (CET) stackable certification, at



For more than 50 years, ISACA® ( has advanced the best talent, expertise and learning in technology. ISACA equips individuals with knowledge, credentials, education and community to progress their careers and transform their organizations, and enables enterprises to train and build quality teams. ISACA is a global professional association and learning organization that leverages the expertise of its more than 150,000 members who work in information security, governance, assurance, risk and privacy to drive innovation through technology. It has a presence in 188 countries, including more than 220 chapters worldwide. In 2020, ISACA launched One In Tech, a philanthropic foundation that supports IT education and career pathways for under-resourced, under-represented populations.