The Covid-19 pandemic has to date killed more than 700,000 people while unleashing the deepest economic recession since the Second World War. The World Bank forecasts the global economy will register a negative growth of 5.2% in 2020, disrupting the livelihoods of millions of global citizens.
The pandemic has also brought profound changes for information technology (IT) teams. Long viewed as the back office, IT departments have had to play a crucial role in helping their organisations embrace distributed work, launch new digital products and services, and ensure business-as-usual in the light of global lockdowns.
With Gartner projecting a 7.3% decline in 2020 technology spending, how do IT leaders make the right investments that will protect and deliver revenues in an era of social distancing while preparing for eventual recovery and growth?
Here are three takeaways from recent surveys on enterprise IT spending during Covid-19:
Automation, collaboration, and cybersecurity remain key priorities
Sapphire Ventures’ The Impact of COVID-19 on Enterprise Innovation report surveyed 110 CIOs and VPs of IT to understand their current spending priorities. The report finds that 86% of CIOs expect to either increase or maintain their current levels of IT spending. Technology investments during the pandemic have focused on automation that can reduce repetitive work and shift focus to strategic initiatives, collaboration tools that can help remote workers stay productive, and cybersecurity that promotes enterprise resilience and minimises the risk of large-scale data breaches. Digital transformation is a board-level priority, with 64% of IT executives planning to either grow or preserve their current levels of digitisation investments.
Cloud computing takes off
IDG’s 2020 Cloud Computing Survey of 550 IT decision makers found that enterprises will invest 32% of their total IT budgets on cloud infrastructure and applications next year.
In 2020, IT teams will spend an average of $74 million on cloud computing, a solid growth of 59% over 2018. The center of gravity for hosting enterprise applications is no longer the data centre. IT teams are either deploying or in the process of migrating a broad range of applications such as websites (53%), collaboration solutions (52%), storage and backup (42%), and line of business services (41%) such as CRM and ERP to public cloud infrastructure.
Renewed demand for new IT capabilities
Apptio’s recent survey shows significant pressure on IT departments to reduce overall technology budgets. IT leaders are cutting travel expenses (82%), delaying projects (72%), and freezing hiring (66%) to optimise spending. While CIOs will need to contain costs and ensure clear value from technology investments, there is also strong demand for new IT capabilities. A majority (63%) of respondents are being asked to deliver more with less, a clear indication of how critical technology remains in addressing customer demands in a volatile economy.
Business execs are looking for answers and directions from IT, more than ever before. IT leaders will need to become active participants in their organisation’s response to Covid-19. This will involve collaborating with stakeholders to create new business models, working with HR teams to reimagine the way work is performed, and ensuring organisational resilience with the right technological capabilities. IT leaders who make strategic investments in digital technologies, staff skills, and agile processes will be best positioned to support organisational priorities during and after the pandemic.
Photo by Freddie Collins on Unsplash
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