Gartner: Businesses in growth mode as IT investments surge
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

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Businesses are exiting survival mode and diving headlong into growth mode, according to the latest analysis from Gartner, as IT spending ramps up to support a new Work-from-Anywhere reality.

Worldwide, IT spending will increase by 9 percent in 2021 to $4.2 trillion as companies double down on digital transformations across the board: From tech initiatives launched to “stay afloat” during the pandemic to entirely new IT marching orders aimed at expansion.

“Technology spending is entering a new build budget phase,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “CIOs are looking for partners who can think past the digital sprints of 2020 and be more intentional in their digital transformation efforts in 2021. This means building technologies and services that don’t yet exist, and further differentiating their organization in an already crowded market.”

Data center systems, enterprise software, devices, IT services, and communications services are all IT arenas that will see investment grow as enterprises map out their long-term prospects in a post-pandemic world.

‘IT services,’ in particular, show that many executive leaders are more clearly visualizing the direct business outcomes of technology investments that support a more agile, digitally-oriented organization. A big lift in infrastructure-as-a-service spending that supports mission critical workloads (while avoiding high on-premises costs) puts IT services as the third fastest segment in Gartner’s forecast, with businesses set to spend $1.2 trillion in 2021, an increase of 9.8 percent.

Devices—including wearables and health trackers—are another unique growth area for IT spending highlighted in Gartner’s findings. WIth employees expected to work from anywhere as the pandemic lifts, many companies are arming their teams with new devices that both ensure their health and wellness, but also the security of their work and the devices themselves.

With ransomware incidents making headlines on a near-weekly basis, businesses are no longer “making do” with old equipment that may have been a last resort during the pandemic. If an employee only had access to an old laptop during the pandemic, for instance, standards for both security and tech efficacy are much higher in 2021.

As a result, companies are set to invest almost $800 billion toward new devices in 2021, up 14 percent from last year.

Most important tech still on the horizon

The report also emphasizes that many of the technologies businesses will need to succeed going forward are either entirely new or not even developed yet. Enterprise software investments, which had already jumped 9.1 percent in 2020 to support work from home, will jump another 13.2 percent in 2021 to enable hybrid work at scale, which includes exploring new solutions and investing in the manpower to build proprietary ones.

“Digital transformation can no longer be purchased overnight, and global IT spending projections reflect that,” said Lovelock. “As the world continues to open back up, enterprises will invest in tools that support innovation, anywhere operations and employee productivity and trust.”

The overarching theme motivating all of these tech investments is future-proofing businesses for whatever unforeseen events may be on the horizon. Few anticipated what a massive groundshift the pandemic would present across industries, and these investments show that businesses recognize IT as the saving grace of the pandemic, and the underlying network infrastructure as the lifeline of the business.

With IT scaling up in nearly every dimension—from the number of tools and solutions they support, to users in the field, to even investment dollars—they’re navigating a world where they have very little control over many of the functions they owned fully in an office-centric world. Now, teams are managing remote users and cloud applications, over direct internet connections or IaaS setups that grant them little inherent visibility into how workflows are really delivered.

As a result, teams need to invest in solutions that grant them end-to-end visibility into end-user experience from any location, as well as outside-in visibility into the cloud environments supporting these workflows.

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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: gartner, hybrid office, remote work, hybrid work, work from home, work from anywhere, enterprise IT, IT, SaaS, business, software, WAN, network architecture, network, infrastructure, devices, budgeting, budget, IT

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