Report: IT Was the 'Great Enabler' for Businesses During Pandemic

Organizations are prioritizing their IT investments in the coming year -- which makes sense, because that's what kept many of them afloat in the previous year-and-a-half.

A recent survey by Spiceworks Ziff Davis (SWZD) polled over 1,000 IT buyers in North America and Europe to gauge the direction of IT spending trends in 2022. Over half (53 percent) of those surveyed said they expect their IT budgets to increase next year. The increase will be fairly significant, too -- an average of 26 percent compared to 2021. Only 7 percent of respondents said their IT budgets will shrink next year.

Not surprisingly, the pandemic has had a major and ongoing effect on IT budget increases. As both customers and employees around the world were driven indoors by stay-at-home orders last year, many businesses were forced to accelerate their "digital transformation" projects (namely by moving workloads off of premises-based hardware and into the cloud) to keep operations running smoothly. Businesses have also had to adopt new ways to secure and support workers from their home offices.

With more businesses than ever embracing remote work and hybrid work models, and with pandemic conditions still persisting in many parts of the world, these adaptations will likely continue well into 2022.

"With technology serving as the great enabler allowing businesses to stay productive during the pandemic, more than a third of IT budgets will remain on an upward trajectory for reasons relating to COVID-19," the authors wrote.

For intance, "supportinng remote workforce during COVID-19" was cited by 37 percent as the top driver of IT budget increases in the coming year, and "changes to business operations during COVID-19" by 35 percent. "Increased security concerns" was an even bigger influence, at 44 percent.

The biggest IT budget driver overall, however, was "increased priority on IT projects." Cited by 49 percent of respondents, this factor suggests that businesses are focusing their energies on continuing "multi-year modernization efforts that were accelerated by remote work," according to the report.

Where Will All that Spending Go?
On-premises software purchases are expected to eat up about 28 percent of IT budgets in 2022, with productivity solutions being the most popular planned software purchase. Cloud-based services spending, which has been trending upward for years, will make up 26 percent of budgets in 2022.

However, the biggest share of IT budgets next year -- almost one-third -- will go toward hardware, although hardware spending has been in a steady decline in recent years. The hardware categories that organizations expect to spend most of their money on are:

  • Laptops (19 percent of hardware budgets)
  • Desktops (14 percent)
  • Servers (11 percent)
  • Networking appliances (8 percent)
  • Tablets/mobile devices (7 percent)

However, planning device and appliance purchases is one thing; acquiring them will be another. Shipping times and hardware availability have taken a hit in recent months, and the effects are likely to continue into 2022.

"Despite the optimism around rising company revenues and tech budgets...IT buyers expect to encounter challenges when purchasing hardware, software, and services over the next 12 months," the report said.

In fact, "limited product availability" and "shipping delays or logistical inerruptions" are both expected to be the bigget challenges in 2022 by 46 percent of respondents. Following closely are "supply chain disruptions/issues" (43 percent), "increases in product costs" (43 percent) and "chip shortages" (41 percent).

What Security Tools Will Businesses Adopt?
Across the board, security services are poised to see an increase in business adoption through the end of 2022. "Driven by the need to secure remote workers and the continued threat of ransomware, companies will plow ahead with investment in emerging security solutions," the report authors wrote.

The security technologies that organizations are expected to adopt the most next year are:

  • Employee security training tools (76 percent of companies)
  • Anti-ransomware solutions (76 percent)
  • Hardware-based authentication (68 percent)
  • Breach detection and response (59 percent)
  • Zero-trust security solutions (57 percent)

"Overall, with an anticipated rebound in spending that will likely surpass pre-pandemic levels, there's reason for excitement in an environment that will see more money flowing into the tech industry," the report authors concluded.

The full "2022 State of IT" report is available here.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.


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