In 2019, the roadmap for enterprise IT investment seemed pretty clear. Every organisation was at least part way along a transformational journey, and budgets were rising as people migrated to a host of next-gen technologies that would make this happen. The pandemic totally distorted and disrupted this comfortable scenario, speeding up some projects as quick fixes were sought for an unanticipated emergency. Other initiatives were rapidly relegated to the side-lines, some no doubt never to be revived.
Now with recovery in our sights, CIOs will be wondering which way to turn. They could hardly be blamed for wanting to wait before committing themselves to a fresh wave of spending. Indeed many seem still somewhat subdued and apprehensive, if the findings of independent research firm GlobalData are anything to go on. They reveal that over 50% of the executives the firm recently questioned still feel ‘very concerned’ about the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on their organisation. That’s not really the basis to put a call through to your local systems integrator.
But for those eager to get back to their transformational journey there are choices to be made. Which technologies are likely to be most critical to successful growth over the coming years? GlobalData identified several major investment areas going forwards which it considers critical: multi-cloud evolution, edge computing and 5G monetization are just three. SD WAN, though hardly a new technology, will also continue to drive how we network data going forward. No conversation about tech in 2021 is going to be complete without a nod to AI, which like SD-WAN, is hardly new but appears to be evolving and moving into a more practical phase than we have seen. Security, alas, will need to be top of the agenda, even for those who don’t have the appetite just at the moment for IT investment. GlobalData’s findings show that 50% of the enterprises it polled plan to spend more on cybersecurity going forwards, with only 20% saying they were going to spend less.
Looking at this longish shopping list, it’s hard not to see multi-cloud evolution as paramount with the other items essentially supportive of that. GlobalData certainly sees significant growth here over the next four or five years. There will still be enterprises reliant on just the one cloud environment, and enjoying the simplicity of that. But most larger organisations are migrating to multi-cloud and looking for technology that will help manage and automate that.
So where will IT spending be expected to make most difference? Management consultancy Deloitte has identified a few areas:
- Remote work. Supporting transition to a distributed workforce, deploying tools that virtually and securely bring people together in the interests of collaboration.
- The digital economy. Consumer spending patterns might well have changed forever, requiring digital technologies in areas like e-commerce, telehealth, online learning, contactless payments and other online consumer trends
- Supply chain enhancements. Supply chains creaked badly during the pandemic, so tech is needed that better protects and manages the supply chains of the future
- There are skills shortages in key areas all over the world, necessitating that we all automate processes and reduce human involvement
These links will further people’s understanding of these topics:
This webcast is highly relevant.
Plus this link to Deloitte.
These organisations took part in our discussion:
By Guy Matthews, Editor of NetReporter