IT executives are more fired up than ever about using public cloud and data initiatives to differentiate their businesses, according to a recent 451 Research survey.
In its first-ever Voice of the Enterprise (VotE) Digital Pulse survey, released this week, 60 percent of more than 1,000 IT leaders surveyed report that they plan to run the majority of their IT off-premises by year-end 2019; that includes public cloud and SaaS. For this year, their top three IT initiatives are business intelligence, machine learning/artificial intelligence and big data.
This quarterly survey signals where partners should focus their efforts. For starters, there’s the increasing importance of data-centric technologies.
“Business intelligence and analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and big data, which emerged as their Top 3 IT initiatives for 2018, indicate expanded opportunities for associated products and services,” said Melanie Posey, research vice present and general manager, Voice of the Enterprise at 451 Research. Those include backup/recovery, cloud migration, performance monitoring, multi-cloud/hybrid cloud integration, and data protection/identity and access management.
The growth opportunity around data is particularly clear, with almost 30 percent of organizations rating machine learning and AI as a top priority in 2018, compared with 12 percent of companies who use these solutions today.
That’s not all. Posey sees new opportunities for the channel with Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which respondents rated as their most strategic technology suppliers. Thirty-five percent of organizations say Microsoft will be their most strategic partner by the end of 2019, compared with 33 percent today. While AWS garners only 7 percent of interest today, 17 percent say that the hyperscale cloud platform will tie in appeal with Microsoft in a couple of years.
Microsoft and Amazon might win in the platform wars, but few organizations will make the shift to off-premises public clouds alone.
“Organizations will need help getting there and managing workloads on those platforms, which is where the channel comes in,” Posey said. “Joint technology development and go-to market partnerships with hyperscale cloud leaders can help smaller-scale vendors benefit from digital or IT transformation.”
No surprise then that the largest spending increase in 2018 is for IT delivered as-a-service, which comes at the expense of traditional on-premises spend, according to 451 Research. Additionally, survey respondents plan to up their investments in information security. Sixteen percent of respondents, for example, say that security is getting the largest budget increase.
The most surprising finding? The persistence of what Posey calls the “digital divide.” Almost two-thirds of IT executives have yet to develop formal digital transformation strategies.
“Clearly, organizations face a number of organizational, cultural and technology challenges with regard to digital transformation,” she said.
Those challenges provide an opening for partners to step in and till the ground for transformation, Posey says.
A look at the top IT priorities in 2018 by ranking: business intelligence/analytics (45 percent), machine learning and AI (29 percent), big data (28 percent), software-defined networking (25 percent), containers/container management (23 percent), serverless computing/microservices (18 percent), blockchain (12 percent), edge/fog computing and biometrics (7 percent) each.
While blockchain technology didn’t garner much mindshare this year, Posey expects to see interest shift from tire kicking to real deployment over the next year.
“The survey suggests that many, but certainly not all, organizations are finally reaching the point where they can focus on endeavors that help differentiate the business, instead of merely keeping the lights on,” she says. “In 2018, we expect to see much of this effort focused around a new set of approaches to data optimization and analysis.”