CIO’s Pandemic Business Impact Study looks at the shift in IT budgets, technologies being invested in, and digital business objectives due to COVID-19

Boston, Mass. – August 27, 2020, IDG’s CIO – the executive-level IT media brand providing insight into business technology leadership – releases the CIO Pandemic Business Impact Study, revealing that IT budgets are rebounding.  While the first study in this series – CIO COVID-19 Impact Study, April 2020 – highlighted how IT leaders initially responded to the coronavirus pandemic and explored how prepared their organization was to face the disruption, this iteration explores organizations’ digital business mindsets due to the pandemic, the technologies they need to succeed in these regards, and when/how they expect a return to the office. According to the results, although cost control/expense management remains top of mind, organizations are realizing the necessity of technology solutions to enable them to steer the business during these turbulent times.

Tech Budgets See a Resurgence
In March, when the pandemic first hit U.S. organizations, there was undoubtedly some concern with how IT budgets would change year over year. CIO’s COVID-19 Impact Study reflected that uncertainty with 35% of organizations expecting their IT budgets to decrease in the next 12 months, (up from just 7% in December 2019). The good news is that budgets are swinging back as organizations realize the value and need of new technology solutions. Latest results show that 41% of organizations anticipate their IT budgets will increase in the next 12 months, 35% expect them to remain the same, and only 23% anticipate a decrease.

Supporting this budget growth is the fact that 59% of IT decision-makers (ITDMs) say that the effects of the pandemic are accelerating their digital transformation efforts. Also, more than half (54%) say they are adding new technology projects to their 2020 roadmap to create a competitive advantage given shifts in their industry due to the pandemic.

“As organizations continue to drive business, address customer needs, and support their workforce in these challenging times, it’s inevitable that new technologies and solutions will need to be evaluated and put in place for companies to evolve,” said Sue Yanovitch, VP of Marketing, IDG Communications, Inc. “Whether it be additional collaboration tools, security controls, or analytics programs, many IT leaders are having to shift their processes and roadmap due to great disruption.”

Digital Business Continues to be a Top Priority
While IT leaders are seeing their digital transformation efforts accelerate due to the pandemic, this is aligned with CEOs’ top priority for IT which is to lead digital business/transformation initiatives (36%). From the April 2020 results, this priority has remained in the top spot, tied with improving remote work experience (36%), and followed closely by upgrading IT and data security to boost corporate resiliency (28%). Looking at where IT leaders are spending more time compared to three months ago, they may be moving past their initial conservative reaction and regaining a strategic focus. For example, a greater percentage (29%) say they are driving business innovation compared with only 26% in April; and 27% say they are spending their time developing new go-to-market strategies & technologies, compared with only 22% in April.

New to this study, CIO asked ITDMs how their digital business objectives have changed in importance as a result of the pandemic. Close to two-thirds (64%) said that increasing operational efficiency rose in importance, followed by creating better customer experiences (58%), and improve security (58%). The pandemic has certainly shifted goals around a DX strategy. According to IDG’s 2019 Digital Business Study, improving security was a top DX objective for only 42% and 53% were looking to improve operational efficiency.

Technology Investments Due to COVID-19
Organizations are adding new technologies to support the shift in work environments and priorities. Compared to three months ago, organizations plan to spend more on big data/analytics, business process management, mobile devices, artificial intelligence (AI), and mobile applications in order to become a digital business. When researching these technology products and services, ITDMs anticipate their reliance upon select information sources to increase in importance over the next 12 months. Topping the list are online product demos (40%) and virtual networking events (39%).

“IT leaders need to continue to network with and learn from their peers. With the lack of face-to-face opportunities, they are turning to a variety of virtual offerings,” said Yanovitch. “Whether that be an educational webcast or webinar, conversational networking event, or multiple day virtual tradeshows, these platforms provide tech decision-makers the opportunity to connect, learn and bring new solutions and best practices back to their organizations.”

Join the Conversation
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About the CIO Pandemic Business Impact Survey, 2020
This survey was conducted between July 18-27, 2020 to understand how the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting IT leaders’ roles, priorities, and expected long-term effects on their IT organization and business as a whole. The results are based on the responses of 373 IT decision-makers.

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

About IDG Communications, Inc.
IDG Communications connects the world of tech buyers with insights, intent and engagement. We are the world’s largest media, data and marketing services company that activates and engages the most influential technology buyers. Our premium brands, including CIO®, Computerworld®, CSO®, InfoWorld®, Macworld®, Network World®, and PCWorld® engage a quality audience of the most powerful audience of technology buyers providing essential guidance on the evolving technology landscape.

Our global data intelligence platform activates purchasing intent, powering our clients’ success. IDG Marketing Services creates custom content with marketing impact across video, mobile, social and digital. We execute complex campaigns that fulfill marketers’ global ambitions seamlessly with consistency that delivers quality results.

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Stacey Raap
Senior Marketing & Research Specialist
IDG Communications, Inc.