AUSTIN, Texas—How are IT department decision-makers coping with the changing technology requirements as their workforce transforms itself into an army of cloud workers that use a browser—for all devices, from anywhere, at any time?
Businesses are rethinking their technology to support this transformation, as the Spiceworks 2019 State of IT four-part report shows. The Spiceworks survey, conducted in July 2018 and released at the recent SpiceWorld conference, included 780 business technology buyers across North America and Europe.
Spiceworks is a marketplace that connects tech buyers with sellers. The company's goal is to help enterprises find, adopt and manage the latest technologies while also assisting IT brands to build, market and support better products and services.
Conference-goers were quizzed on their plans for buzzworthy technologies such as internet of things (IoT), 3D printing, virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI).
For any material change to happen, resources have to be allocated and/or reallocated. At SpiceWorld 2018 here, Peter Tsai, senior tech analyst with Spiceworks, added context to the report. “This year we found that 89 percent of those studied were either flat or increasing their budget. The No. 1 and 2 reasons they're increasing budgets included outdated infrastructure or out-of-date operating systems and security concerns,” he said.
Top Five Technologies for Adoption in 2019-2020
The top five technologies that companies plan to adopt within the next two years are IT automation, gigabit WiFi, IoT devices, hyperconverged infrastructure and container technology. Certain segments are going to adopt technologies at different rates. For instance, blockchain technology is currently adopted by only 9 percent of organizations overall, but large companies make up 25 percent of that audience.
A significant blockchain finding is that in two years, the majority of large enterprises said they're going to use blockchain technology in some form.
Another major trend is that adoption of new technologies in North America will lag behind Europe. Depending on the technology, the lag could be quite a bit. For example, with blockchain technology, in North America 5 percent of organizations are currently using it. In Europe, that number is 13 percent. Technologies such as serverless computing, virtual reality and AI all have a similar gap.
Tsai believes one of the main reasons Europe is ahead of the game is because of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulatory environment that took effect on May 25.
“In our previous budgets report, a lot of European companies cited regulation changes as a reason for increasing budgets,” Tsai said. “There’s an increased focus on IT and a heightened awareness among the general public, management and IT professionals about security concerns.”
Security Is Huge
Anti-ransomware solutions, multiple-factor authentication such as 2FA (two-factor authentication), and passwords and breach detection systems represent the top three technologies. Their current rate of adoption worldwide is 43 percent, with an additional 21 percent of organizations planning to adopt by 2020. Larger organizations and European companies are more likely to adopt sooner.
Another popular category of tools is employee security training, such as the kind KnowBe4 provides. Forty-one percent of the audience surveyed has implemented a training tool. An additional 27 percent plan to adopt one within two years. Training tools are important because it only takes one user or employee to fall for a phishing email. KnowBe4 has a training program in which it attempts to phish users by sending them phony emails. If an employee clicks on a link, he/she has failed, and back to remedial training they go.
Additional technologies that aren't mainstream yet but need to remain on the radar are security solutions powered by AI and for IoT devices.
Best Takeaways From the Report
The top three report takeaways for the IT department are the following:
- IT—and not only the C-suite—must be part of the technology decision-making process, because businesses are now technology-dependent. IT must position itself not as a cost center but as a way to take the company forward to higher revenue streams. To do this, it needs to be well-funded to chase after new solutions.
- The second takeaway is that IT needs to know the environment in which it lives from a security standpoint. The threats will only increase, and it helps to know what peers are doing. If the enterprise is behind the curve, IT can use this data to show executives that it’s now the norm to allocate funds to secure their environment. One catastrophic event could take down the company if faced by a data breach and GDPR fines. The most serious violations could result in a fine of up to €20 million or 4 percent of EU revenue, whichever is greater.
- The third is to invest in automation. Technology is an enabler; it helps companies get more done with fewer resources. Automation is the next extension, making different systems interact together by automating certain processes. One example is automating spreadsheet updates in the background. One of the roles IT professionals play is helping businesses operate more efficiently through technology. It's an easy sell.
The report is chock-full of vendor-agnostic industry data that IT buyers can use to make informed decisions. Well worth the read at the right price—it’s free.
Alyson Behr is a free-lance writer and occasional contributor to eWEEK.