Top Enterprise Tech Trends for 2024 

Generative AI, Data Management, Zero Trust, Data Governance, and Cloud are 2024’s Top Trends

ETR Insights | Jake Fabrizio | Daren Brabham PhD | Erik Bradley  

| February 16, 2024

To mark the new year, ETR hosted a series of interviews with IT decision makers following a standardized set of questions to determine the most (and least) pressing trends in enterprise technology heading into 2024. The full report aggregates findings across all seven interviews and outlines key developments in the IT sector amidst a backdrop of inflation, supply chain issues, and geopolitical conflicts. While this article summarizes some key takeaways, the full report should be read for all the details and vendor comments. Access the full report here.

Enterprise Tech Trends 2024

Generative AI, Data Management, Zero Trust, Data Governance & Cloud are 2024’s Top Trends

ETR’s 2024 Enterprise Tech Trends report outlines key developments in the IT sector amidst a backdrop of inflation, supply chain issues, and geopolitical conflicts. Executives from various industries discuss the impact of these challenges on tech budgets and strategic decisions, highlighting a trend towards short-term strategic cost-cutting, long-term optimism around budget growth, and the importance of adaptability in sourcing and technology utilization.

The research series consisted of interviews with seven ETR Community Members, all seasoned experts in their fields, including the Director of IT for a large energy enterprise; the VP and Manager of Data Analytics for a large financial services enterprise; the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and VP of IT Infrastructure for a large industrials enterprise; the VP of Information Technology for a large tech enterprise; the Senior VP of Global Infrastructure for a large financials enterprise; the Senior Director of Technology and Operations for a large industrials enterprise; and the Chief Information Technology Officer for a large transportation agency.

Our guests stress the need for comprehensive, multi-layered cybersecurity, zero-trust networks, and robust user education in the face of AI-enhanced attacks. They discuss the evolving role of AI in customer service and business process automation, the importance of data management and hygiene, and the latest cloud computing trends, with emphasis on how businesses are adapting to economic uncertainties, prioritizing efficiency, and bolstering security technological advancements and strategic vendor partnerships.

Vendors Mentioned in the Full Report: Amazon (AWS, AWS Bedrock) / Apple / Aruba Networks / Beyond Trust / Cato Networks / Cisco / Creatio / Darktrace / Datadog / Databricks / Elastic / Encore / Google (GCP) / IBM / Matillion / Microsoft (Azure, Copilot, Entra, Office 365, Power Automate, Power BI, Teams) / Okta / OpenAI (ChatGPT) / Oracle / Palo Alto Networks / Ping Identity / Pure Networks / SailPoint / SAP (Analytics Cloud, Business Objects) / Saviynt / Snowflake / Splunk / UiPath / Veeam / Zscaler

Macro Overview – IT Budgets, Inflation, Supply Chain & Geopolitical Conflicts

Seven executives across diverse industries paint a complex picture of how rising prices are impacting IT budgets and shaping strategic decisions. One Director of IT expresses annoyance at price hikes that exceed inflationary norms, particularly from tech giants like Microsoft. “In the past, we saw 5% increases year over year from a maintenance standpoint. Now we're seeing 15%. It's pretty frustrating getting the same product; they have reduced staff and reduced their effectiveness, and we're paying more for it.” They go on to cite unnecessary hardware maintenance contracts and criticize vendors for exploiting the situation. A VP of Data Analytics concurs. “I've been seeing 15% increases on various platforms, which can be a big stretch, especially on the bigger price platforms.” Operating in a more cautious banking sector, they have delayed projects and extended timelines to reallocate resources without resorting to drastic cuts.

Despite the inflationary squeeze, two executives in thriving infrastructure and construction sectors report an ability to maintain or even slightly increase IT budgets. One acknowledges rising equipment costs but highlights his company's adaptability in sourcing alternative suppliers and adjusting purchasing strategies. “We’ve gone to additional suppliers or switched what we were buying in order to get things on time.” The other, facing similar cost pressures, prioritizes technology and process optimization to achieve efficiency gains instead of workforce expansion. “For the next 12 months we're probably going to make do with who we have, get more efficient with technology, improve our business processes, and just be smarter about how we work.” Economic uncertainty hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of some executives, like one who works in the energy sector. His company boasts a robust 15% budget increase over recent years, fueled by an active acquisition strategy and investments in data analytics and edge security. “This year, we're slowing down right now because El Niño's created some caution, but our planned budgetary increase is probably 12% to 13%.”

However, inflationary pressures are broadly driving a wave of strategic cost-cutting across industries. One CISO, facing flat budgets for two years, details measures like layoffs, payroll cuts, and a rigorous review of hardware, software, and services to eliminate “bells and whistles.” A Senior VP of Global Infrastructure, while expecting modest budget growth, emphasizes cost optimization through technology consolidation and streamlining software platforms. “We’re making sure that business units aren't buying a software package that we have another competing software package for and leveraging bigger discounts by putting everybody on Microsoft versus a competitor or vice versa.” Even in less pressure-cooker environments, a transportation agency’s CTO adopts long-term contracts and stable budgeting strategies to mitigate inflationary spikes. That said, “When those contracts end-of-life and I have to renegotiate SaaS contracts or cloud contracts, I'm sure this inflationary period will be baked into the pie.”

“I've been seeing 15% increases on various platforms, which can be a big stretch, especially on the bigger price platforms.”

- VP & Manager of Data Analytics, Large Financial Services Enterprise

Beyond immediate price hikes, some executives express skepticism about the easing of recessionary fears and the full impact of inflation being behind us. “There's no end in sight to when we're going to have—we're at the bubble, we're bursting, whatever it is—so people are still being cautious on some of the spend.” One VP predicts sustained high prices even if the economy stabilizes, with inflation catching up. “I don't imagine pricing going down. I imagine if anything it stays flat while inflation catches up and it starts feeling more comfortable to IT decision-makers.”

The scars of COVID-induced supply chain disruptions still linger; one Senior Director's company grapples with the echoes of China-related delays and shutdowns. “The lack of shipping capacity just meant that there were longer lead times for hardware that was needed.” Another VP, while noting an easing of these disruptions, acknowledges the ever-present uncertainty and its impact on their budgeting and technology deployment plans.

Even when facing challenges, a cautious optimism runs through. One Senior Director, despite facing sourcing hurdles, expects his IT budget to grow, indicating a belief in the future of technology advancements. “We're pursuing strategic objectives to expand and support that. I think a spending increase is not unexpected.” A Director of IT's strategic investments in areas like data analytics and security showcase a commitment to leveraging technology to navigate not only supply chain complexities but also broader economic uncertainties. “We're rebuilding our old data analytics system, and we're going to leverage new technology to provide better visibility in the presentation layer. We're also investing in more edge security to the desktop, pushing that edge security point out to the desktop for remote access users, especially. Those are the two big spending driving factors for us.”

ETR Data: According to data from ETR's January 2024 Macro Views survey, IT spend estimates for 2024 Q1 are slightly tempered vs. three months prior, now at +2.4% y/y growth (N=1766). Respondents are, on average, more optimistic on 2024 spending than three months ago, with full year spend anticipated to grow +4.3% vs. 2023. Total 2023 growth ended the year stronger than anticipated, with respondents citing 3.5% growth last year, coming in higher than the prior two survey period’s expectations.

Top Trends of 2024: Generative AI, Data Management, Zero Trust, Data Governance & Cloud

On one end of the spectrum, a VP of Information Technology champions generative AI as a game-changer, hailing its potential to enhance automation, streamline processes, and drive cost savings across organizations. “Applying ChatGPT-like solutions to all sorts of problems, driving better automation, saving time, and leading to better outcomes—that is by far the number one priority for many organizations.” This VP's enthusiasm contrasts with another’s CISO’s cautious approach, who is particularly concerned about how generative AI might be leveraged in cyberattacks. “I just don't know what to expect next year as this stuff proliferates. The one thing I can tell you is that we are going to try to ramp up on our user awareness. You have to worry about external bad actors, but a single user can do just as much damage to your environment and to your business as a bad actor.”

One VP envisions general-purpose AI as a tool for enhancing employee agility and skill sets, enabling them to transition between roles and platforms with greater ease. “That mobility will increase because of general-purpose AI, because they won't need the mentorship and hand-holding—that overhead cost of retraining someone—because they'll be able to do it themselves.” While broader emphasis is on customer-facing automation, another Director notes that most IT departments are still grappling with how to effectively use AI for internal functions. “We still struggle with how we're going to utilize AI from a technical perspective, like reducing technical debt, increasing services, or increasing zero trust. The vendors out there are still not what I'd call very mature.”

“We still struggle with how we're going to utilize AI from a technical perspective, like reducing technical debt, increasing services, or increasing zero trust.

The vendors out there are still not what I'd call very mature."

-Director of IT, Large Energy Enterprise

Moving beyond AI, data management emerges as a crucial thread connecting many executives' viewpoints. A Director of IT and a Senior VP of Global Infrastructure both point to data hygiene and preparation as prerequisites for successful AI deployments, with clean and structured data as the foundation for effective utilization. “Lots of good housekeeping to take care of with your data and making sure that there's correct behavior happening with it and with your tools.” Snowflake and Databricks are well positioned here. The Senior VP of Global Infrastructure favors Databricks for its powerful capabilities but praises Snowflake for its more user-friendly approach. “Both tools have come at it from the same angle. The traditional SQL data warehouse is gone, so we need data lakes, but they came at it with two different approaches. Snowflake [said], ‘Let's make it more user-friendly.’ Databricks said they would make it really powerful and do a lot more, but it's also more complex.”

ETR Data: According to data from the JAN24 Technlogy Spending Intentions Survey (TSIS), Snowflake and Databricks show the strongest spending trajectory among Database / Data Warehousing Software sector vendors. Public cloud vendors also outperform within this sector, along with MongoDB and Redis Labs.

Additionally, several executives expect zero trust security to proliferate. One Senior VP advocates for extending the principle beyond networks to all data. “Only giving people the access they truly need. Hacking is modern-day news all the time, and you have to stay ahead of it.” Another CTO raises concerns about data ownership and public access, particularly in government projects involving tech giants. “We have a lot of cameras and sensors on our vehicles. That's [technically] the public's data, but should we just put that out on the Internet for everyone to have?” Both emphasize the need for robust regulations and ethical considerations surrounding data utilization.

Cloud computing remains a key trend, though executives differ in their focus areas. One CISO describes an ongoing shift towards cloud adoption driven by the post-COVID work environment and reduced physical office spaces, aligning with another Senior Director's observation of cloud becoming "ubiquitous," though both are concerned by emerging challenges around cost optimization. “A lot of companies have moved to public cloud and are finding a lot of cost increases. Trying to kind of get those under control and rationalize that is going to be something that's going to be really bubbling up in a lot of companies.”

If you would like to continue reading, please access the full report, which includes the following sections:

I. Sector Trends: Cloud Migrations

II. Sector Trends: IT Security

III. Additional Vendor Commentary

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Enterprise Technology Research (ETR) is a technology market research firm that leverages proprietary data from our targeted IT decision maker (ITDM) community to provide actionable insights about spending intentions and industry trends. Since 2010, we have worked diligently at achieving one goal: eliminating the need for opinions in enterprise research, which are often formed from incomplete, biased, and statistically insignificant data. Our community of ITDMs represents $1+ trillion in annual IT spend and is positioned to provide best-in-class customer/evaluator perspectives. ETR’s proprietary data and insights from this community empower institutional investors, technology companies, and ITDMs to navigate the complex enterprise technology landscape amid an expanding marketplace. Discover what ETR can do for you at 

And that’s a wrap on Security as we transition back over to the melodious charms of our colleague Dr. Daren Brabum to cover the Data Warehousing and Analytics subsectors.