Top IT spending priorities for 2021

IT budget priorities reflect the pandemic’s ongoing effects, with IT leaders earmarking more for improving remote work, expanding digital initiatives, and enhancing customer experience.

Top IT spending priorities for 2021
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The pandemic will continue to influence IT budgets in the next 12 months in ways both large and small. Organizations will rely on technology to improve remote work infrastructure, expand digital transformation initiatives, and create or enhance a variety of customer services.

In particular, according to the 2021 State of the CIO survey of 812 IT leaders, IT shops will spend more on data and business analytics (39%), security and risk management (37%), cloud-based enterprise applications (32%), and customer experience technologies, including chatbots and mobile apps (30%).

To pay for it, worldwide IT spending is expected to bounce back from last year’s pandemic-triggered contraction, increasing 6.2% this year over last year’s 3.2% decline, according to a Gartner study released in January.

Tightening in 2020 saw most CIOs putting their dollars into only what was deemed mission-critical at the time. This year CIOs will need to balance the need for the “anywhere employee” with “everywhere/anytime customer access,” says John-David Lovelock, Gartner distinguished research vice president.

Helping CIOs retain some budget for innovation will be “hyperautomation” — getting people out of as many processes as possible — and optimizing technology throughout the enterprise, he says.

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