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The key to IT success in 2019: Invest, train and transform

Successful organizations are investing in IT. That’s the headline finding from this year’s edition of the Business IT Trends Annual Report.

The report, based on research carried out in December 2018, surveyed more than 600 US and Canadian IT executives, managers, decision-makers, and decision influencers on their experiences and expectations.

Looking back

This year’s edition includes, for the first time, a “Retrospective” section, in which respondents were asked about their most recent major IT rollouts. Desktops and PCs topped the poll, followed by servers.

Splitting out the successful organizations (those that met or exceeded their goals) from the less successful (those that didn’t), the report found that successful businesses relied on human skills, both internal and external, to make their projects happen. Their biggest challenges were insufficient budget and insufficient internal expertise.


The report contains four “headline” findings:

  • Successful organizations are investing in IT: 83 percent of businesses expect their IT spending to grow or remain steady in 2019, mostly driven by upgrade cycles. Successful businesses were at least maintaining, and in most cases increasing, their IT spend.
  • Finance, manufacturing, and professional services lead the way: Continuing a trend from the last report, the finance industry is looking at the biggest IT budget increases, followed by manufacturing and professional services.
  • Large companies are transforming their IT: Reversing a trend from the last report, in 2019 larger, not smaller, companies lead the way in budget growth, as digital transformation projects continue.
  • Skills pay the bills: As noted above, skills were the determining factor for successful IT rollouts, including internal expertise, partner support and vendor support.


Analyzing the entire data set saw two further trends emerge:

  • Big business is building: Larger organizations are completing their digital transformation projects, focusing on key priorities including business processes, IT delivery, and operational efficiency.
  • SMBs are stabilizing: Smaller organizations are consolidating (with more flat, and fewer increasing, budgets), with key trends including cloud adoption, tension between innovation and security, and growing interest in the internet of things (IoT).

Follow the money

The report asked a number of questions around budgets and expenditures. Overall, just over one-third (36 percent) of respondents reported budget increases, just under half (47 percent) reported flat budgets, with the remainder (17 percent) reporting budget decreases.

Spending priorities were fairly evenly split between hardware, software, and cloud – split 35/34/31 – with cloud jumping 8 percent from last year.

Looking ahead

The report ends with an examination of future technology, asking respondents if they were currently using, or planning to use within the next 12 months, certain technologies.

Advanced security was the winner here, with a 77 percent response, followed by mobile technology (69 percent) and IT automation (53 percent).

Blockchain was the lowest-rated technology, on just 9 percent, reflecting recent uncertainties about its security and viability.

How does your business compare to these findings?