Gartner: IT spending to top $4.1 trillion in 2021
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

IT spending is forecast to hit $4.1 trillion in 2021—an 8.4 percent jump from last year— as digital initiatives and transformations outside of the traditional realm of IT are fueling tech spending across organizations, according to the latest forecast from Gartner.

Spending on devices like laptops, desktops, tablets, and mobile phones will jump 14 percent this year over 2020 levels, the research finds, as enterprise software spending will see a 10.8 percent boost as companies brace for a Work From Anywhere future. Both of these increased deployments are to help support a hybrid future of work, where employees will have more flexibility in when and how they get the job done that hinges on network connectivity.

“IT no longer just supports corporate operations as it traditionally has, but is fully participating in business value delivery,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “Not only does this shift IT from a back-office role to the front of business, but it also changes the source of funding from an overhead expense that is maintained, monitored and sometimes cut, to the thing that drives revenue.”

The report goes on to cite remote learning and a rise in interactive gaming as factors helping to fuel the digital-first mindset that’s pushing businesses to embrace a hybrid workplace model. Families and businesses had to change their usage patterns significantly over the course of the pandemic, and this focus on arming users with the latest technology to bridge physical distances shows that these patterns will likely continue long after the pandemic subsides.

Globally, 6.4 billion devices are anticipated to be installed in 2022, which will represent a 3.2 percent uptick from 2021. And while PC usage is forecast to decline from 522 million in 2020 to 470 million in 2022, the number of laptops and tablets in use will increase 8.8 percent and 11.7 percent, respectively.

As for enterprise software, increased spend is coming from some surprising non-IT arenas. The increased focus on employee well-being, for instance, is propelling technology investments forward in areas like social software, collaboration platforms and human capital management software, Gartner found.

But the marching orders IT faced in the rush to transform their networks last year have taken on a more forward-facing tone in 2021 and going into 2022, according to the data.

“Last year, IT spending took the form of a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to enable a remote workforce in a matter of weeks. As hybrid work takes hold, CIOs will focus on spending that enables innovation, not just task completion,” said Mr. Lovelock.

Focus on innovation, future of work

These spending trends align closely with the larger forecast for enterprise decentralization being witnessed across the enterprise space. In AppNeta’s 2021 Work From Anywhere Outlook, for instance, nearly 20 percent of knowledge workers indicated that they had moved at least once since the start of the pandemic. As a result, these users are now dispersed far more evenly across urban, suburban and rural communities as opposed to being concentrated around central or branch office locations.

To that end, many users who are already in a hybrid, Work From Anywhere set up are still waiting for their network operations and IT teams to catch up in delivering the same kind of service remotely that users enjoyed in a traditional office setting.

Of respondents, 35 percent are frustrated by technology challenges/experiences with IT since the pandemic, even though 21 percent acknowledge that they may be doing their best.

Specifically, almost half of employees are hoping for IT support primarily with critical apps, while 37 percent would like IT’s support with internet connectivity issues, 35 percent expect support with hardware issues and one-third want IT’s support with learning new tools.

And employee expectations of IT are only getting more discerning: Nearly 30 percent of employees anticipate a response from IT within the hour of them reaching out with a tech-related issue. An additional 33 percent expect a response within the business day. Not surprisingly, only 11 percent of respondents think that a response within the week is acceptable.

All of this is to say that no matter what infrastructure improvements take place in the future, IT will require a more diverse and scalable toolset to deliver on ever-higher employee expectations, regardless of where they are located

AppNeta deploys outside-in monitoring into the cloud environments delivering the business-critical applications and SaaS workflows that enable businesses to operate in a Work From Anywhere world. In fact, our ability to scale and meet the needs of our increasingly decentralized enterprise customers (including leading healthcare providers) has helped us win a slew of Customer and Cloud-specific awards of late, including the 2021 Cloud Computing Product of the Year from TMC.


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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: work from home , remote workforce , remote work , work from anywhere , network monitoring , enterprise technology , technology , software , hardware , IT spending , IT budget , enterprise IT , network performance monitoring , network management