Be it any business, tech priorities of organizations are always derived from their business priorities. So it's important to first understand the latter before determining which tech to deploy. We did an online survey in which around 135 CIOs and IT decision makers from across 30 different types of industries participated. The objective of the survey was to understand their business and tech priorities for the coming year, along with the challenges they're facing in choosing the right one for their business.
Improving Productivity is Top Business Priority
In our survey, improving productivity was the highest business priority amongst the respondents (60%), followed by reducing operational costs, and improving customer service. It's interesting to see that all business priorities are focused toward internal improvements. The more aggressive and outward facing business priorities like rapid growth in business volumes, setting up new business units, etc came after the internal ones. This is an interesting result, and we wonder whether it's a consequence of the impending economic downturn, which everyone seems to be predicting.
IT Spending to Slightly Increase Next Year Surprisingly however, as far as IT spending for next year is concerned, we found a different picture altogether. Only 25% of the respondents said that the global economic situation is likely to impact their IT spending next year. For more than 50% of them, IT spends are likely to get impacted by specific company objectives. Other significant factors that are likely to influence IT spends include cash flow situation, competition, and industry standards.
A majority of them (42%) said it's likely to slightly increase. Another 22% are expecting a significant jump in their IT spending, while another 22% are expecting it to remain the same. Thankfully, only about 8% of the respondents might face a slight dip in their IT spending next year. So that's good news for the tech industry.
Companies seem to be more open to allocating a significant part of their IT budget to new technologies. In fact, 12% of the respondents said that as much as 40% of their IT budget is likely to be invested for deploying new technologies. Another 30% said they're likely to spend a quarter of their budget for the same.
Likewise, 20% of the respondents are likely to put 20% of their IT budget for new technologies, and the rest for basic IT management.
BI and Analytics Has the Brightest Prospects Among Biz Apps
Several interesting trends are visible as far as business app deployment is concerned. Apart from email, all other business apps have been deployed by around 50% of the respondents. For relatively newer business apps like BI and Analytics, this is understandable, but this is the case for even age old apps like ERP, CRM, and HRM.
As far as future prospects are concerned, they appear the brightest for BI and analytics, with 32% of the respondents likely to invest in the technology in the coming year. Next technology in line is information management, with 22% of the respondents likely to invest in it in the coming year. Interestingly, information management technologies are also candidates that are likely to get upgraded by the highest number of respondents.
Users Still Apprehensive About Moving Apps to the Cloud
Software as a Service or SaaS is the biggest success story of cloud computing, with just about every application today available as a web app. So naturally, it was important to understand what plans do organizations have for moving some of their apps to the cloud. The candidates here are the same as presented in business apps, with one more addition for helpdesk management. Interestingly, around 40% of the respondents had no plans of moving their existing business apps to the cloud, while around 30% of the respondents had no answer to this question at all. Of the rest, cloud based helpdesk mgmt solutions seem to be in demand, followed by information management solutions.
Of the remaining cloud computing models, Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS is gaining traction in the IT community. 33% of the respondents said they were likely to use IaaS in the coming year. Private cloud setup is the next logical step to virtualization, so only those companies that have already deployed virtualization are the right candidates for it. That's why only 30% of the organizations are likely to deploy private cloud next year.
Storage Virtualization Becomes Key Focus For Next Year
Virtualization technology needs no introduction, but the biggest success story of this technology has been in server virtualization. This was apparent from our survey, with the highest number (38%) of respondents saying they've already done server virtualization. The big story for the coming year seems to be storage virtualization, with 32% of the respondents likely to go for it. This is followed by server, application, and finally network virtualization. Network virtualization still seems a gray area for the respondents, which is indicated by the fact that 37% of the respondents didn't give any answer about this technology.
Big Plans for Tablets Next Year
Tablets have created a lot of buzz, which is why most companies are trying to figure out how incorporate them in their fleet of mobile devices. But the interesting thing is that a lot of organizations are apprehensive about buying tablets for their employees, which is why 30% of the respondents are allowing employees to bring their own tablets to office, but not buying them. Another 29% however are planning to buy tablets, but only for their top management. Only a quarter of the respondents were keeping tablets out of their system completely for now. 18% were even building custom apps on tablets. So the overall outlook for tablets definitely looks positive for the coming year.
Lukewarm Response to Embracing Social Networking Platforms
Interestingly, despite all the buzz around social networking, 30% or more of the respondents had no plans of using social networking platforms for their business in the coming year. An equal percentage of respondents on an average had no answer to this question at all! Of the remaining 40% or so of the respondents, 37% were already using LinkedIn, while another 30% were on Facebook, and 22% were using Twitter. Only 13% of the respondents were actually planning to use Facebook for their business, while another 11% said they have plans to use LinkedIn. Very few people are likely to setup their own social networking platforms or integrate them directly with their business apps.
Information Security Top Tech Priority
Besides the popular technologies like cloud computing, virtualization, and social networking, we asked the respondents about their plans for using other technologies in the coming year. The highest percentage (54%) of the respondents voted for information security technologies, followed by video conferencing and bandwidth optimization tools. The remaining tech priorities can be seen in the graph. Besides the votes, we also asked the respondents about the top 3 technologies that were on their priority list. Here, DR and BCP came up on top, followed by information security, and then unified communication.
Top Three Challenges in Deploying Tech
While the consumerization of IT has its own set of advantages, it has opened up lots of product options to choose from for IT decision makers. So, 61% of the respondents said that choosing the right product or solution was their biggest challenge from the slew of technologies they were planning to deploy next year.
Choosing the right partner for implementing the technology is the next biggest challenge. The third biggest challenge quoted by the respondents was in calculating the RoI and TCO for getting budgets sanctioned for a particular technology. Interestingly, creating a compelling business case to convince the management about deploying a particular technology didn't seem like that big an issue from our survey, with only 34% of the respondents saying that this was their biggest challenge.
So these in a nutshell were the results of our tech priorities survey, which also give an indication of the kinds of trends to expect in the coming year.