Every year, Computer Weekly conducts a large-scale survey of our readers to find out their IT spending priorities for the year ahead – it’s always an interesting take on what’s happening in IT departments around the country because it’s coming from the leaders making those technology purchasing decisions.
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The latest results are in, and the headline news is clear – IT organisations in the UK are accelerating the move to cloud. When asked about IT managers’ priorities in datacentre, storage and software plans for 2018, cloud came out top every time.
Our research also looks to Europe, and the picture is the same – in France, Germany and across the continent, cloud is the number one spending priority.
As public cloud grows in popularity, it’s also putting pressure on IT teams to justify their on-premises systems. Twice as many organisations listed server virtualisation as a priority than in 2017 – and investment in basic infrastructure such as power, cooling and racks also came in as the top datacentre priority.
This suggests IT managers are having to overhaul their internal operations to prove they can deliver the same levels of efficiency, flexibility and cost-effectiveness as they’re seeing from their public cloud usage.
In business applications spending, the vast majority of IT managers buying or upgrading core software are implementing cloud-based versions. For example, 53% of readers surveyed are spending on customer relationship management (CRM) systems this year, while 45% of respondents are looking at software-as-a-service CRM – only small numbers are staying on-premise.
It’s no surprise, perhaps, that mobile device management is another top technology investment – along with mobile and cloud security. It’s further evidence that the future of corporate IT is mobile users connecting to cloud-based systems.
It’s also no surprise that compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is driving a lot of IT spending this year, with the deadline fast approaching on 25 May. Data loss prevention has become the top security technology priority as a result – with end-user security training the main security initiative, as awareness grows that users are often a weak link in data protection.
Looking ahead, emerging technologies such as internet of things, artificial intelligence and blockchain were the fastest-growing technologies compared to 2017 – they’re still fairly low priority overall, but interest and investment is rising quickly as more IT teams explore what benefits such systems can bring.
2018 is set to be a big year for UK IT managers – only 10% of organisations are reducing their IT budget; 56% are increasing spending, with a quarter seeing at least a 10% hike. Our survey shows the UK technology scene is in rude health.