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IT Priorities 2019: What projects are IT professionals spending their budgets on?

The Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities research for 2019 has reported maturity in software as a service (SaaS) among IT decision-makers and continued emphasis on prioritising security expenditure.

The survey of 1,578 IT decision-makers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) reported that network performance, network traffic and flow data emerged as key areas of the IT environment that buyers intend to monitor more closely this year.

Of the 387 UK IT buyers surveyed, 44% said they were planning to monitor network performance and 35% to monitor network traffic and flow data, compared with 38% and 36% of EMEA buyers, respectively.

As expected, security concerns still loomed large among IT buyers, with monitoring and management tools high on the agenda in both the UK and EMEA.

In the UK, 27% of buyers said they were planning to spend on cloud-based network monitoring and management this year, and 26% were planning on-premise installations. IP address management and monitoring also featured in the plans of 20% of them. In EMEA, on-premise monitoring and management spend figured in the plans of 27%, and 19% in the case of cloud-based services.

The focus on cyber security and risk is further underlined by the fact that 39% of EMEA respondents expect a budget increase, while 34% in the UK expect security budgets to increase.

As expected, spending on compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has fallen away as a specific area of spending. The increased emphasis on data protection in the UK and Europe is likely to be responsible in part for the greater focus on cyber security and risk as more organisations begin to view data breaches, particularly involving personal data, as an important part of business risk.

Cloud matures beyond infrastructure

Regarding storage, the survey found that of the top six priorities, the only one not directly related to cloud storage or data protection is data management, which is a priority for 28% of respondents.

Top of the list for primary storage projects is cloud backup as a service, which is a 2019 priority for 33% of those surveyed, followed by virtual server backup (29%), backup software refreshes (27%), public cloud storage (26%) and data archiving (23%).

The study found that 35% of respondents named migrating to the cloud as their top IT spending priority for the year ahead, when asked which “broad IT initiative” their company plans to implement in 2019.

The study also revealed a growing appetite among respondents for increasing their use of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) technologies over the next 12 months. When asked how they expect their compute capacity requirements to change in 2019, 80% said they expected their use of public cloud and IaaS services to rise, while 20% thought theirs would remain the same.

On the PaaS front, the results were broadly similar, with 83% expecting their use of it to increase this year, with the rest saying they expected it to stay the same.

The research found strong growth in Saas, particularly in the area of cloud deployments of business intelligence (BI) and analytics (30%) and database software (27%). Some 17% of respondents are using the cloud for their data science platforms, which is at the sophisticated end of BI and analytics.

The proportion of UK IT decision-makers considering putting their enterprise resource planning (ERP) in the cloud edged up a little, from 17% in 2017 to 18% now. Across EMEA, 25% said they were likely to shift their ERP to the cloud, indicating that the region as a whole is looking to be more progressive than the UK.

However, business intelligence and analytics took the top spot for SaaS delivery (33%) in EMEA, edging out customer relationship management (CRM).

Developers focus on automating and connectivity

Looking at software development initiatives, business process automation is expected to be the top software development project this year.

Application programming interface (API) management came a close second, suggesting that automation between business applications needs APIs to connect different systems and orchestrate business processes.

In 2018, APIs and agile topped the software development initiatives. For 2019, the proportion of UK IT professionals who selected API management among their main software development priorities remained about the same. Just over one-fifth of the UK IT professionals surveyed (22%) had API management among their top priorities, after just over a quarter said the same thing last year.

But in Europe, almost half (48%) of the IT professionals who took part in the survey listed API management as one of their top software development priorities.

Windows 10 deadline looms

Finally, from a desktop IT perspective, migrating off Windows 7 has topped the Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities survey of desktop initiatives for the past few years as businesses continue to upgrade their desktop IT.

But what is surprising about this year’s results is that more than half of IT professionals have rated the upgrade from Windows 7 as their top desktop IT project, which suggests many still have a lot of work to do to get onto Windows 10.

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