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IT priorities 2022: UK IT leaders show preference for cloud-first strategies

Research suggests firms across the UK and Europe that were quick to pivot to the cloud in response to the pandemic are prioritising investments that will help them make more of their off-premise infrastructure

UK IT leaders are increasingly adopting cloud-first strategies, with 50% of respondents to the 2022 TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT priorities survey claiming their organisations now have a preference towards using off-premise technologies. 

More than 265 IT leaders from UK-based enterprises, medium-sized businesses and smaller firms took part in this year’s survey, which saw participants quizzed on their technology investment priorities for the year ahead. 

This year’s report also sought to dig a little deeper into how the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is continuing to shape the IT strategies of firms across the UK, as well as across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). 

One of the standout findings of this year’s report is that half of those surveyed as part of the UK-focused poll said their organisations now describe themselves as being “cloud-first” entities, which means they prioritise the use and adoption of cloud-based offerings when looking to procure new tech. 

In some organisations, such as the UK government, cloud-first also indicates a preference towards using public cloud services – such as those offered by the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud – but definitions can vary from company to company.  

The TechTarget report provides a snapshot of how the cloud strategies and migration journeys of enterprises are maturing, particularly when comparing the results of last year’s IT Priorities survey to the insights gleaned this time around.  

As detailed by Computer Weekly at the time, one of the top IT spending priorities of UK-based IT leaders in 2020 was investing in technologies to aid the migration of on-premise workloads to the cloud, with 36% of respondents claiming the pandemic made it easier to justify these expenditures.

IT spending priorities

When UK IT leaders were asked to name their top IT spending priorities, from an IT infrastructure and datacentre perspective, for the 2021 version of the report, the answers given suggested that much of the heavy lifting involved with their cloud migrations has now been done. 

Now, it appears IT leaders are turning their attention to making it easier to manage and secure their cloud workloads across multiple environments, given that the most popular area that IT leaders said they intend to invest in this year is hybrid cloud management tools, with 29% of the vote. 

That said, moving to the cloud is often a multi-year journey for lots of enterprises, with 24% of respondents setting out their intention to invest further in infrastructure- and platform as-a-service technologies over the coming year. 

Security, meanwhile, emerged as the third-most highly cited infrastructure investment priority for UK IT leaders, with 21% of respondents voting for it.  

The UK statistics form part of a wider body of research, gleaned from quizzing more than 850 IT leaders from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) about their IT investment priorities for 2022. 

Read more about the TechTarget IT Priorities data

Again, the infrastructure investment priorities of this more geographically dispersed group of IT leaders suggests that 2022 is going to be a year where enterprises are focusing on refining their pandemic-induced moves to the cloud, and making their off-premise workloads easier to manage. 

For instance, among EMEA IT leaders, investing in infrastructure automation technologies emerged as the area where they (28%) intend to direct most of their budget for the year ahead, while 25% said investing in container technologies will be their top priority this year. 

Given that containers are typically used to make it easier for enterprises to lift and shift workloads across cloud and on-premise environments, this suggests IT leaders are seeking ways to make their cloud environments more fluid and dynamic, while also reducing the amount of manual handling required to run them.  

As was the case with the UK data, investing in security also emerged as a top spending priority among the EMEA respondents.

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