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Post-pandemic CIOs Are Buying More Services, Portable Devices, and AI

As CIOs emerge into the new, post-pandemic normal, they have a lot more money to spend. Here's what they are buying.

Pablo Chamorro

By Pablo Chamorro

As Chief Revenue Officer, Pablo Chamorro leads BairesDev's sales teams to boost revenue while ensuring the effectiveness of company-wide strategies.

10 min read

CIOs in 2022 are finally getting the budget increases they’ve long desired. According to Gartner, the average IT budgets will increase 3.6% in 2022. Worldwide IT spending will be $4.4 trillion in 2022 , an increase of 4% from 2021. This is the largest year-over-year growth rate that most CIOs have seen over a decade, the company said. 

“Contrary to what we saw at the start of 2020, CIOs are accelerating IT investments as they recognize the importance of flexibility and agility in responding to disruption. As a result, purchasing and investing preference will be focused in areas including analytics, cloud computing, seamless customer experiences and security,” said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner.

To guard against future business disruptions like they experienced over the past 2 years, most CIOs also are investing in technologies that will make their organizations more agile, resilient, and flexible.

Technologies that support digital transformation such as AI/ML, secure access service edge (SASE) or Zero Trust, and edge computing are high priorities for CIOs in 2022, Gartner said. These preferences reflect longer-term trends that have been in the making for many years. For many CIOs, the pandemic simply accelerated their embrace of cloud, for example. 

But hardware in the form of PCs, tablets, smartphones, monitors, WiFi routers, headsets and other other productivity tools are hot items today, as well. The rush to send everyone home during the early days of the pandemic exposed a serious weakness in most business continuity and disaster recovery plans (BC/DR). 

No one foresaw an event where every employee and contractor would need portable hardware and connectivity—all at the same time. Most CIOs were caught flat-footed with many raiding their local Best Buys for the hardware they needed.

The spending on virtual private network (VPN) licenses soared during the early days of the pandemic—and those solutions are still in use. According to some estimates, upwards of 60% of organizations began moving away from large CAPEX outlays and towards OPEX spending in order to scale capabilities horizontally in support of remote workers.

Enabling hybrid workforce

Many CIOs are dedicating more budget to technologies that will ensure smooth continuity of operations should their workforces have to face a new major disruption. They are also using this hardware to support hybrid-work arraignments where employees work from home at least part of the week. 

According to the InfoTech CIO Priorities Report for 2022, only 15% of organizations are going to have all their employees return to the office full time this year, while 10% will stay fully remote and the remainder will be managing some form of hybrid workforce.

Ninety-seven percent of respondents plan to invest in technology to facilitate better collaboration between employees by the end of 2022, the InfoTech survey found. Web conferencing, instant messaging, and document collaboration tools are all top CIO priority lists.

PCs are back

The Ziff Davis-Spiceworks report, Hardware Trends in 2022 and Beyond, found that laptops now rival PCs as employees’ main computing device. Forty percent of employees are using laptops and 40% are using desktops.

“On-premises and cloud infrastructure will co-exist and grow increasingly interoperable, allowing for greater portability and flexibility that will benefit organizations in a hybrid world,” the study said. 

Everything-as-a-service

Another trend gaining traction is renting hardware-as-a-service instead of owning it or leasing it as in days past. Like other as-a-service buying, hardware-as-a-service gives CIOs maximum flexibility over their spending. 

In a recent Lenovo survey of 525 global CIOs, 63% said they are using more device-as-a-service in their tech stack. This model differs from traditional leasing in that DaaS often comes with software, services, and support where leasing may not. 

Compared to CapEx expenditures, OpEx is still growing as everything-as-a-service continues to take a larger share of the overall IT budget. While CapEx is still the preferred method to buy new gear, when organizations are presented with the as-a-service model, even CapEx-minded CIOs are pivoting towards not owning and managing the on-premises infrastructure.

Security still a priority

Purchasing is heavily weighted towards security solutions. There is a big appetite for managed services in general and especially for patching, as organizations struggle with compliance, network security, and business continuity challenges. CapEx is still heavily favored for traditional builds for disaster recovery and business continuity.

A lot of investment is still focused on upgrading and securing remote employee’s home networks by Zero Trust network access or SASE solutions that integrate technologies such as cloud access security broker (CASB), firewall as a service (FWaaS), and data loss protection (DLP) into a single solution.

“2022 is the year that the future returns for the CIO,” said Lovelock in a press release about 2022 IT spending forecasts. “They are now in a position to move beyond the critical, short term projects over the past two years and focus on the long term. Simultaneously, staff skill gaps, wage inflation and the war for talent will push CIOs to rely more on consultancies and managed service firms to pursue their digital strategies.”

Pablo Chamorro

By Pablo Chamorro

Pablo Chamorro is BairesDev's Chief Revenue Officer and is responsible for leading and developing the sales department in their plans to increase overall revenue streams. Pablo ensures that interdepartmental strategies are effectively applied for further expansion.

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