Staying ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to business strategy, is key to your organization’s sustainability. Positioning IT as a central driving force of business innovation helps secure your future. Understandably, IT budgets are on the rise. According to Spiceworks’ 2018 State of IT report, 44% of survey respondents said they expect their IT budgets to rise by 19% on average in the next year. It’s a noteworthy forecast, given that the same respondents said their budgets had remained largely flat for the last three years. So, what will CIOs spend their increased budget on?
New IT hires: Emerging technologies and concepts such as AI, IoT and virtual reality are reaching maturity as they become more and more integral to company operations. As CIOs, particularly those at larger companies, work to adopt these technologies, they’ll need to scale up their IT teams to manage the new hardware, software and services. The Spiceworks survey found that “More than 60% of companies with 500+ employees expect to increase IT staff while 70% of large enterprises (5000+) report they’ll hire more IT pros in 2018.”It’ll be a good year for IT job seekers.
Replacing old hardware: Companies still running old operating systems (think Windows XP or Windows 2003) will be pressed to replace these outdated and insecure devices. Survey respondents allocated as much as 31% of their IT budget increase to this next year.
Investing in BYOD: North American companies are leading the charge with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. A recent MarketsandMarkets survey of BYOD trends found North American companies were adopting BYOD at a rate of 36% at the start of 2017. By the start of 2018, that rate is expected to be 50%. We know BYOD policies increase productivity and save companies money -- the average worker saves 81 minutes per week in productivity by using a personal device at work, and businesses save $1,300 per year in hardware and software costs for every user on a BYOD plan. But despite this savings, BYOD policies still come with some costs, and in 2018 businesses will need to address them.
BYOD support and services are increasingly being managed through the cloud, making them scalable and more cost effective since they don’t require additional hardware. Mobile Business Insights highlights two key benefits to a cloud based solution: “Not only do workers gain access to storage space unrestricted by their device specifications, but the cloud also provides an extra layer of security for data. It could become the go-to storage destination for sensitive business data that requires personal device access but needs more security than what an individual device can offer.”
Companies still need to invest in security solutions to manage their BYOD devices, especially given the number of cyberattacks that hurt businesses in 2017. In 2018, companies will spend more than ever on machine learning and AI to detect malware and other vulnerabilities.
Consumer online privacy and security: 57% of respondents to the Spiceworks survey said they are not yet prepared to meet the European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulations, which require compliance from any company doing business in the EU and take effect in May 2018. Given the steep penalties these new regulations call for CIOs would be wise to allocate some budget to preparing for this change.
CIOs can stretch their budgets even further by leaning on an external IT partner to, for example, implement a unified endpoint management (UEM) system in a BYOD environment. By leveraging a partner’s expert skills in solving user ready IT deployment challenges, businesses can focus on accelerating their digital strategy. “2018 will not be a year of fundamental technological revolution. Rather, we will see technologies and concepts that have existed for some time reach maturity and finally fulfil their promise.” By Vic Bhagat, opinion, CIO.