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How IT Leaders Adapt to Digital Growth Demand in 2021

Across the globe, CEOs have learned that achieving digital growth requires an ongoing investment in their digital business transformation projects. Furthermore, legacy assumptions about the ways that enterprises should address business disruptions are no longer valid.

Industry analysts believe superior 'change management' is about being resilient to market disruptions. International Data Corporation (IDC) has launched the Digital Resiliency Investment Index, which provides a view of the progress organizations are making in their investments towards digital resiliency.

The initial Index results show that overall investments in resiliency have increased steadily throughout the year as businesses prioritize or accelerate the adoption of cloud computing, collaboration platforms, and other digital transformation projects.

Digital Growth Resilience Market Development

Modern IT infrastructure and network security have also been a major investment area, driven by the shift to more remote work, a distributed workforce, and accelerated cloud computing adoption in 2020.

"Digital resiliency refers to an organization's ability to rapidly adapt to business disruptions by leveraging digital capabilities to not only restore business operations but also capitalize on the changed conditions," said Stephen Minton, vice president at IDC.

As the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has shown, the ability to respond quickly and effectively to unexpected changes in the business environment are critical to an organization's short-term success.

To prepare for future business disruptions, organizations need plans that will enable them to rapidly adapt as opposed to just respond. Investments in digital business capabilities not only enable an organization to adapt to the current crisis but also to capitalize on the changed conditions.


The Digital Resiliency Investment Index is comprised of two factors – digital core investments and digital innovation investments:
  • Digital Core Investments is comprised of spending on the core components of digital resiliency: cloud, security, collaborative support for remote workers, and digital transformation projects. This score should increase over time as organizations shift budget away from traditional and legacy IT spending and toward these core components of digital resiliency.
  • Digital Innovation Investments are measured using a monthly survey of enterprises on their current and anticipated IT investment focus, including how much new or reallocated spending is targeted at digital resiliency and business acceleration versus crisis response measures. This score should also increase over time as organizations shift their spending focus back to building a digital enterprise.

Overall, investments in cloud, collaboration, and security have managed to grow throughout 2020, despite a decline in overall IT spending. In recent, months, the focus on digital resiliency has increased as organizations realize the importance of being prepared for future business disruptions.

As a result, IDC analysts report that digital resiliency spending will eventually accelerate in 2021 as the global economy improves.

On a geographic basis, resiliency investments grew fastest in the Asia-Pacific market, in line with the region's overall response to the pandemic. Investments in the United States improved noticeably in October 2020, which may reflect a combination of short-term and long-term factors.

Meanwhile, Europe's results declined slightly in October as the region returned to crisis response mode with a surge in coronavirus cases and new socio-economic restrictions.

"The next several months may put increased pressure on some organizations to respond to second waves of COVID infections and economic lockdowns, which will be reflected in our monthly surveys," said Minton. "What we have learned is that the organizations which were among the early adopters of cloud, digital, and collaborative technologies were best-positioned for a crisis no one could have predicted."

Outlook for Digital Growth Resilience Innovation

According to the IDC assessment, digital resiliency in the coming 6-12 months will to some extent reflect the speed at which others were able to pivot their business technology investments in 2020, even as overall budgets were constrained by economic uncertainty.

I believe organizations that succeed in today's Global Networked Economy must excel at adapting rapidly to any and all market disruptions. That requires large enterprise CIOs and CTOs to be flexible and realign prior IT investments from corporate headquarters and branch office infrastructure to better support their global distributed workforce.

Remote knowledge workers need reliable digital workspace solutions that enable them to improve their overall job performance, regardless of where they choose to be located. That means the IT organization must become skilled at delivering traditional enterprise workloads across a variety of mobile devices, while also ensuring secure remote access to SaaS applications in the cloud.

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