It is no secret that 2020 was a challenging year for everyone. IT departments played a big role in keeping organizations operational, enabling the overnight transition to working from home. As the year progressed, IT Managers and employees alike began to appreciate the benefits of cloud communications and collaboration tools. However, for many IT departments, the challenges of 2020 led to a focus on short-term needs, rather than long-term priorities.
We wanted to find what 2021 holds in store for IT departments. Will it be the year that cloud communications finally breaks through? Or will restricted budgets hold back innovation? To find out the answers, Intrado commissioned Censuswide to carry out an independent survey of over 600 IT Managers in the UK and US during the period December 2020 – January 2021. We discovered some interesting trends, which are detailed in this report, together with Intrado’s cloud communications predictions for the year ahead.
1. IT budgets will be under pressure in 2021
It has been a tough year for most businesses, with the impact of COVID-19 hitting some sectors harder than others. So, how has this impacted IT budgets? Encouragingly, over a third of IT Managers expect their budget to increase in 2021. However, a further 31% expect their budget to stay the same or decrease. Many will be struggling to adapt to changing priorities with the same or fewer financial resources. Interestingly, budget trends were consistent across both the US and the UK.
Intrado predicts: COVID-19 and the shift to working from home has forced IT leaders to reprioritize IT Managers spending. In 2020, IT spend was all about putting technology in place to get through the initial crisis. In 2021, IT Managers will need to address gaps in their IT infrastructure, including security risks, and ensure their companies are in good shape for recovery, often with constrained budgets. Equally, many IT departments will be under pressure to achieve more with fewer resources. Making the right spending decisions will be a critical success factor in 2021.
2. IT infrastructure will be a top priority
The new work environment forced many organizations to adjust corporate IT priorities in 2020; and we expect to see a continuation of this in 2021. Our survey revealed that IT infrastructure was the top IT priority for organizations in 2021. The shift to remote working means many organizations are focusing on updating their infrastructure to meet the evolving needs of a distributed workforce, while providing customers with digital access to services. Cybersecurity, cloud communications, customer experience and enabling remote work all shared second place, showing that the pandemic is still dictating the focus in 2021.