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Strategic IT Foresight in the Global Networked Economy

Leaders of large corporations appreciate the significance of thoughtful investment in the future of their business. Most CEOs agree, the competitive advantages of tomorrow hinge on the strategic application of open source software-defined technologies -- such as enterprise mobility, cloud computing and big data.

International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that, including internal IT spending, the world's largest companies spent $895 billion on business technology during 2014.

All the leading IT vendors should now have a better understanding of the key business imperatives that are driving investments in these large global companies -- clearly, they set the pace of new technology adoption across their industries.

Moreover, the activities of the largest IT spenders provide a glimpse into how these industry leaders are taking steps to use targeted investment to transform their businesses for 2015 and beyond.

As we enter the Innovation Stage of Digital Business Transformation projects, IDC expects to see the leading companies focusing more on business value creation -- not merely building the IT and telecom infrastructure foundation for their global operations.

Key findings of the global market study include:
  • Wal-Mart was the largest IT spender worldwide in 2014. Bank of America placed second, followed by Citigroup, AT&T, and JPMorgan Chase.
  • Nine out of ten spenders increased their IT spending from 2013 to 2014.
  • On average, these companies allocate about one-third of their technology spending to internal IT and telecommunications staff salaries and benefits.

This significant investment in technical staff is important, because tapping the skills and ideas of superior talent is a key component of strategic IT leadership in the Global Networked Economy.

Among the top ten spenders, IDC notes a combination of customer-facing initiatives, enterprise focused projects and forward-looking technology adoption and advancement. While varied, these companies have one characteristic in common: the expectation for high levels of service to internal and external IT customers.

"When it comes to IT innovation, the world's largest companies are often criticized as being risk averse, sluggish and siloed," said Jessica Goepfert, program director at IDC. "However there is no denying that the IT budgets of larger companies are, well, larger."

The data and analysis driving this market study is from the IDC "Worldwide IT Wallet" quantitative research program that analyzes the budget and spending priorities of the world's largest multinational companies.

The research covers more than 2,600 business entities. The IT budget and spending for each company are estimated with spending segmented into five technology categories -- hardware, software, IT services, telecom services, and internal IT spend.

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