CIO Tech Poll: Tech Priorities & CIO Pandemic Business Impact studies outline tech investment plans as organizations plan for hybrid work structure

Boston, Mass. – July 27, 2021 – IDG’s CIO – the executive-level IT media brand providing insight into business technology leadership – recently released two research studies outlining how organizations are progressing forward and investing in technology post-pandemic. The 2021 CIO Pandemic Business Impact study looks at what the return to office structure looks like, challenges IT decision-makers (ITDMs) are focused on, and the tools they are investing in to support a variety of work environments. The CIO Tech Poll: Tech Priorities, 2021 annual study explores how organizations are progressing forward, outlines the technology areas IT leaders will be focused on, and measures the direction of investments in those tech categories.

Insight into the Future of Work
It is no surprise that organizations are embracing a hybrid work structure. More than half (59%) of ITDMs agree the work from home (WFH) shift has created a more positive view of remote workplace policies and is impacting how their organization will plan for office space, tech staffing, and overall staffing in the future. When asked about work environments for 2022, organizations will support a mix of staffing locations – office only (39%), remote only (23%), and hybrid work structure (38%). This aligns with the 65% of ITDMs who stated that maintaining a hybrid workforce will be long lasting or permanent, along with 60% who said that maintaining a remote workforce will be permanent.

Although hybrid work has proven primarily successful, ITDMs report some concerns with the fact that teams will be split between working remotely and in the office. Fifty-five percent are concerned with the ability to efficiently collaborate, followed by employee and/or IT staff morale and burnout (54%), and maintaining secure systems and processes (47%). To address these concerns, organizations plan to invest in enhanced collaboration/meeting tools (56%), enhanced security controls (53%), headphones (31%), “hoteling” applications to enable employees to reserve desk space (27%), and wireless devices (25%).

Security Continues to be Top of Mind
Close to two-thirds (63%) of ITDMs report that their organization continues to update their security infrastructure to adequately address WFH employees and 59% have a stronger focus on business resiliency and their ability to respond to business disruptions. This is supported by the fact that 65% expect their spending towards cybersecurity to increase in the next 12 months, which is the largest spending increase among the technology categories. Additionally, 25% say that cybersecurity is the single most important technology project that their organization is currently working on, which is up from 15% last year. Given the number of cyberattacks businesses have encountered recently, this is not surprising and shows that IT and business leaders understand they must effectively prepare due to the potential impact of these attacks.

“As businesses create their ongoing strategies, security discussions are inevitable as cyberattacks are on the rise and employees continue to work remotely, which opens the business up to additional touchpoints for attackers,” says Sue Yanovitch, VP of Marketing, IDG Communications, Inc. “Technology, specifically security, vendors must understand their customers’ current environments and goals to be able to guide them to the correct solutions to ensure business resiliency.”

Implementing New Technologies
The effects of the pandemic continue to accelerate organizations digital transformation initiatives, such as increased automation of IT and business processes. To drive business forward, 50% of ITDMs anticipate that their tech budgets will increase over the next 12 months, 42% anticipate their budgets will remain the same, and only 8% expect a budget decrease – which is in line with the 7% in December 2019 prior to the pandemic. Following cybersecurity, the areas where IT decision-makers expect to see the greatest increase in tech spending compared to last year are BI/analytics tools (51%), business process management/workflow automation (50%), customer experience technology (50%), and collaboration tools/technologies (49%).

Looking at the technologies that are being actively researched, 5G enabled devices, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML), blockchain, and IT/OT convergence top the list. Although blockchain is on some businesses’ radars, it is still not widely used as 54% say they are not interested in the technology. Respondents also reported the technologies they believe have the most potential to significantly alter the way their business operates over the next three to five years. Due to its predictive and problem-solving capabilities, it is understandable that big data/analytics is number one, followed by AI/ML, cloud infrastructure, and identity and access management.

Continue the Conversation
To connect with technology buyers as they strategize their future of work plans and adapt to an evolving business landscape, become a sponsor at CIO’s Future of Work Summit. This event is taking place virtually September 21-23, 2021. For additional research on this audience, or solutions to engage with them, visit our resources section.

About CIO
CIO focuses on attracting the highest concentration of enterprise CIOs and business technology executives with unparalleled peer insight and expertise on business strategy, innovation, and leadership. As organizations grow with digital transformation, CIO provides its readers with key insights on career development, including certifications, hiring practices and skills development. The award-winning CIO portfolio provides business technology leaders with analysis and insight on information technology trends and a keen understanding of IT’s role in achieving business goals. CIO is published by IDG Communications, Inc. Company information is available at

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Stacey Raap
Marketing & Research Manager
IDG Communications, Inc.