IT organizations are finally able to reclaim the ground they lost in the Great Recession and are moving forward with an eye toward growth. According to the 2016 Computerworld Forecast Study, more tech decision-makers are expecting their budgets to increase (46%) than to stay the same (42%) – a contrast from last year when flat budgets outnumbered growing budget expectations. Those who are optimistic about budget growth report that the average expected increase will be nearly 15%.
So where will this increased budget be allocated? Say it with us – SECURITY. While there are other technology priorities for 2016, security tops the list with 50% of respondents planning to increase security spending. Even more so for enterprise organizations (60% at companies with 1,000 or more employees are planning to increase spending on security versus 43% at companies with less than 1,000 employees). Security is also in the top five most important technology projects that IT is working on right now and the second biggest leadership challenge expected in the next 12 months.
Cloud computing is another area in which more respondents plan to increase spending (48%) rather than hold steady (35%). Viewed in conjunction with the top three areas in which companies plan to reduce their spending in 2016 — on premise software, data center modernization, and legacy systems modernization and replacement —the ongoing trend toward moving even business-critical applications and infrastructure into the cloud is sharply highlighted. In keeping with this trend, the number one most important technology project currently underway is cloud computing. Eighty-seven percent of enterprise organizations have moved at least some data to the cloud (up from 76% last year) and 66% of tech decision-makers have an on-going strategy for cloud computing.
The overall top five areas with spending increases in the 2016 Computerworld Forecast Study are:
- Security (50% plan to increase)
- Cloud Computing (48% plan to increase)
- Business Analytics (41% plan to increase)
- Mobile Apps (36% plan to increase)
- Virtualization (35% plan to increase)
To keep up with the increased investments in these areas, organizations will inevitably need to hire new talent. However, and unfortunately for IT leaders, security, BI & analytics, and cloud computing are also the top three most difficult skill sets to hire for. The skills needed to keep up with increased technology investments are increasingly difficult to find.
Knowing customers’ priorities and challenges can help tech marketers position their organizations as strategic partners rather than just another vendor. Learn more about IT priorities in areas such as spending, staffing and technology in the 2016 Computerworld Forecast Study.