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Gartner Forecasts IT Spending and Your IT Budget in 2021

Gartner Forecasts IT Spending & Your IT Budget in 2021

It’s safe to say that for many businesses, 2020 budgets were impacted by the current COVID-19 global pandemic. Many business leaders have adopted a conservative approach to their 2020 budgets, so it’s no surprise that IT spend for businesses was down for 2020. Gartner, a leading market research firm, reported that as of July 2020, worldwide IT spending is trending to decline 7.3% in 2020. Although IT spend was down this year, Gartner expects technology spend to recover at a faster rate than the overall economy. “Overall IT spending is still expected to sharply decline in 2020 but will recover in a faster and smoother manner than the economy,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished Research Vice President at Gartner. “Still, enterprises cannot return to previous processes that are now rendered outdated due to the disruption of their primary revenue stream during the pandemic.” Businesses have been forced to use 2020 as an evaluation period to understand changes that must be made to keep up with new customer demands and adapt to the “new normal”. In the digital age we live in, people and businesses heavily rely on technology to help them fulfill needs and desired outcomes. Digital transformation for businesses is becoming a requirement, with sources like Forbes writing that technology leaders “…must look to 2021 spending as they consider digital transformation initiatives.” 2021 budget planning is underway for many businesses and their ability to appropriately budget for their technology expenditures is now more vital than ever. They will soon realize that the new differentiator in their industries will be their ability to be agile and adaptive to new technology trends that encourage the efficiency and security of their remote workforce. To assist during this vital period, NexusTek created a list of top technology considerations to budget for in 2021. Let’s review:

Cloud Services

Cloud services refers to IT services, infrastructure and applications accessed via the Internet. It can include virtualizing servers/networks/desktops, business software, mobile applications, email services, data storage and online backup, and other services which, if combined with a managed platform, are fully monitored/managed and delivered from a secure and reliable location. Companies benefit from adopting a cloud platform because it offers “anywhere, anytime access” to conduct business. With many businesses mandating that portions (or all) of their workforce work remote during the current pandemic situation, cloud services are crucial to ensure employees can be productive and collaborate. Whether collaborating on projects, engaging with customers or managing business operations, cloud serves is the foundation to enable all these job functions to be conducted remotely and efficiently. ZDNet reported in a recent survey by Computer Economics, that “when it comes to IT spending priorities, cloud – applications and infrastructure – lead the way”. In that same survey, cloud applications and cloud infrastructure were listed as an IT priority with 83% and 71% of the respondents, respectively.

Productivity and Communications Solutions

If the cloud serves as the foundation to “anywhere, anytime access”, then the business software that empowers your workforce to be productive and collaborate in the cloud would be your tool to get things done. Popular cloud-based business productivity software, like Microsoft 365, allows your employees to efficiently perform tasks and collaborate on projects away from a physical office. Along with the need to be productive, employees need new ways of collaborating and communicating with one another, and with customers. “Ongoing workplace collaboration requirements will fuel sustained end user spending in cloud-based conferencing, which is projected to increase 46.7% in 2020”, according to the latest forecasts by Gartner. Although we’re in a digital age, human-to-human interaction is still important to conduct business and build relationships. Since the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates social distancing for the foreseeable future, having the best technology solutions to foster a productive workforce that can effortlessly communicate with co-workers and customers is a must.

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It’s not just businesses that are noticing the increase in demand for remote and digital technologies, cyber criminals are as well. For organizations that have newly deployed remote workforces and are expanding their cloud capabilities, new vulnerabilities present themselves in the form of inexperienced employees, new systems and processes. Ransomware in particular is a growing cyber threat, with an attack taking place every 11 seconds by 2021.

Operating business with cloud-enabled technologies is very safe and secure with the proper cybersecurity solutions, but companies need to prioritize cybersecurity as a top technology investment to secure their IT assets. And no, just having an anti-virus software is not enough. In a recent survey by Tech Republic, only 17% of respondents had cybersecurity listed as a top priority within their 2021 IT budgets.

There are numerous cybersecurity solutions that can be implemented to improve your remote security posture, provide training to your employees, and monitor your networks.

IT Services

Businesses of every size need IT support. You may have some dedicated IT staff, however internal IT staff are often overstretched or do not always possess the expertise required to manage various technologies. While it is tempting to keep everything internal, modern cloud, mobile, and IoT computing make the need for properly managed IT essential to businesses of any size. This does not necessarily mean completely outsourcing your IT, as many do, but many businesses choose to augment their current IT staff to add the needed expertise or handle IT help desk requests. Related to cloud services, Gartner says “…CIOs will gravitate toward spending on subscription products and cloud services to lower upfront costs. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is expected to grow 13.4% to $50.4 billion in 2020 and 27.6% to $64.3 billion in 2021.” To maximize technology and be budget-conscious, more companies will want to use IT managed services for increased convenience, decreased costs, and the increased efficiency it brings to organizations.

Mobile IT Hardware

If you have a cloud platform, then you will need the latest mobile hardware to access your business applications and data. Operating a business in the cloud without the proper mobile devices or on aging hardware can lead to numerous challenges, both in the functionality of your IT and the ability to conduct business remotely. IDC reports that “investments in mobile and cloud hardware have created new platforms which will enable the rapid deployment of new software tools and applications.” Therefore, it’s no surprise that Tech Republic survey results show that 26% of respondents reported that they will spend more on remote technologies that enable employees to work from home. Consider what devices are required to conduct business remotely and engage with your customers. From laptops, to cell phones, to tablets, to whatever mobile devices your business needs.

Having the appropriate technology budget plays a crucial role in helping businesses transform operations, improve productivity and collaboration, secure their assets, cut costs and enhance the customer buying experience. Companies that invest in the best IT solutions for their 2021 strategic business goals will enable desirable outcomes to adapt and change. Even if your IT budget isn’t quite as big in 2021, it makes it all the more important to ensure you’re IT investments are in the areas most vital to your company’s success.