Now that prediction season is over, it’s time to make some concrete IT plans for 2019.
Research analysts spent the last few months releasing a slew of predictions (yes, cloud mega-platforms are going to be a thing) of the hottest tech trends for the coming year. At the same time, the boots on the ground — from CIOs to network admins — have been busy drafting IT action plans for the year ahead.
Spiceworks polled hundreds of those IT professionals in Europe and North America, asking them to reveal their game plans for the next 12 months. Here’s a glimpse of how much they intend to spend on new technologies, what they’re going to buy, and the types of talent they want to hire to make it all work.
The forecast looks pretty sunny for tech spending this year.
“After surveying more than 700 business technology buyers across North America and Europe, we discovered business revenue is on the rise and IT budgets are expected to grow or remain level,” the report states.
Fifty-eight per cent of surveyed organizations expect their business revenue to increase. More than one-third of mid-size organizations (500 to 999 employees) foresee their IT budgets rising specifically due to corporate tax cuts.
Bolstered by higher sales and lower taxes, 89 per cent of polled companies expect their IT budgets to rise or remain the same compared with 2018. Overall, respondents anticipate their IT budget rising by an average of 20 per cent, up slightly from 19 per cent last year.
What’s driving the jump in IT spending? The top three reasons cited for budget hikes are:
- need to upgrade outdated infrastructure
- increased priority on IT projects
- increased security concerns
In a nod to GDPR laws in Europe, “regulatory changes” come in at No. 5 on the list of motivators for higher IT spending.
In terms of who’s buying what in 2019, Spiceworks data suggest large enterprises will set their sights on productivity solutions, mid-size firms are eyeing virtualization tools, and smaller businesses are shopping for new operating systems.
New tech adoption
Peering just a wee bit further into the future, Spiceworks asked the same 700-plus business technology buyers what kinds of emerging tech they’re currently using and which ones they plan to adopt by 2020. The top five technologies in terms of current and planned adoption are:
- gigabit Wi-Fi networking tech (cited by 61 per cent)
- IT automation (57 per cent)
- IoT devices (48 per cent)
- converged or hyperconverged infrastructure (39 per cent)
- application-isolating container tech (38 per cent)
Which emerging technologies are IT pros most excited about? When asked which ones they believe will have “the biggest impact on their business,” here are the top three answers they gave:
- IT automation (cited by 41 per cent)
- Internet of Things (32 per cent)
- gigabit Wi-Fi networking (30 per cent)
Both of those survey results suggest IoT has achieved some serious traction among IT buyers. Sitting at the opposite end of the spectrum, however, are virtual reality, blockchain and 3D printing, which respondents believe will have the least impact on their businesses.
Blockchain gets a particularly rough ride in the Spiceworks survey. Although large enterprises are embracing blockchain in a big way (half of them expect to be using blockchain by 2020), mid- and small-sized organizations say they’re putting it on the backburner.
“With the exception of large enterprises and organizations in the financial services industry, the adoption of blockchain-enabled tech has been slow,” the study acknowledges.
Elsewhere in the Spiceworks findings, two surprising nuggets stand out.
First, despite all the hype about artificial intelligence, only 10 per cent of all surveyed organizations are using AI right now and just 20 per cent plan to adopt it within the next year. Second, survey respondents named employee education and training — not hardware or software — as the security solution they’re investing the most in, as well as the one they believe works best.
“If there’s one thing most organizations can agree upon across the board, it’s this: educating end users is seen as one of the most effective ways to combat threats … now and into the future,” the Spiceworks researchers concluded.
To get a handle on IT hiring trends for 2019, Spiceworks polled 1,000 technology professionals in Europe and North America. Although nearly a third of organizations plan to increase IT staffing this year, they’re seeking talent with specialized skills rather than generalists. Here’s a breakdown of the most sought-after skill sets by company size:
- large enterprises: security, AI
- mid-size firms: DevOps
- small businesses: infrastructure, end-user hardware
HR departments may be in for some headaches, since almost half (45 per cent) of IT pros intend to leave their current job this year, whether they’re looking for higher pay or to advance their IT skills.
Pay close attention to the millennials among your IT staff, who are more likely than Gen Xers and baby boomers to seek new jobs, raises and promotions in 2019, according to the Spiceworks stats.
There you have it. A year when organizations will spend more on technology, embrace automation and find specialized new talent while persuading their existing IT staff to stay put.
If all goes according to plan, that is.