Middle East-based IT leaders expect IT budgets for 2022 to be equal to, or above, pre-pandemic levels, with security spending expected to take the biggest share.
According to TechTarget/Computer Weekly’s annual IT Priorities survey, 63% of IT decision-makers in the Middle East region are planning to increase their IT budgets by 5% or more in 2022.
Spending is recovering to pre-Covid levels, but the pandemic has left its mark, with an acceleration in digital transformations.
For example, 52% of survey respondents said security technology has become more important, 45% said spending on end-user computing, including mobility, will increase, and 43% will spend more on automation.
All these technologies became more important during the pandemic as the way people worked had to change suddenly. When lockdowns were imposed by governments, enterprises had to introduce the infrastructure to enable staff to work from home, which meant security and end-user computing investments were needed.
A total of 14% of respondents said they are investing aggressively in initiatives related to hybrid working for staff – known as the Future of Work. Almost one-third (31%) are investing moderately in these initiatives and the same proportion are investing where needed. The remaining 12% are not investing in technologies to enable hybrid working.
Technology buyers in the region that are investigating Future of Work initiatives are researching technologies such as unified communications, artificial intelligence monitoring tools, productivity suites such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, and internet-of-things network infrastructures.
With the rapid rise in digitisation, Middle East IT buyers are investing in cloud infrastructures to underpin digital working. To this end, 57% of survey respondents said they are now cloud-first, while 19% chose on-premise first. Just under a quarter classed themselves as cloud-agnostic, but said they are cloud-first in most areas.