Every quarter, ETR conducts a higher-level macro survey to determine overall spending budgets and trends impacting the enterprise technology landscape. In the January 2024 iteration, 1766 IT decision makers participated in the Macro Views Survey, weighing in on overall budgets, technology priorities, hiring trends, remote work, rate of new IT deployments, Gen AI, and much more. In addition, the macro survey also overlaps the higher-level spending direction with our vendor-specific TSIS data to see which vendors are impacted the most (and least) by directional spending movements. In this article, we will provide a glimpse into some of the key findings from the survey and accompanying data report; however, if you want the full results, our clients and community members can find them in the comprehensive ETR research platform. Members can view the survey data and the report, or let the ETR analyst team do the work for you and watch the full Macro Views webinar replay.
The January 2024 Macro Views Survey captured responses from 1766 IT decision makers (ITDMs), with more than a sixth of respondents from Fortune 500 organizations and 60% holding C-suite or Director-level titles. IT spend estimates for 2024 Q1 are slightly tempered vs. three months prior, now sitting at +2.4% y/y growth, while respondents are, on average, more optimistic on 2024 spending than three months ago, with full-year spend anticipated to grow +4.3% vs. 2023. The total 2023 growth ended the year stronger than anticipated, with respondents citing 3.5% growth last year, higher than the expectations for the prior two survey periods.
Large enterprises anticipate a +3.5% growth in full-year spend, slightly up from previous estimates, with small and midsize organizations also increasingly positive at +6.5% and +5.0%, respectively. Despite a decline in Global 2000 expected growth, it is encouraging to see Large organizations in line with overall mean averages. Energy/Utilities, Healthcare/ Pharma, and Industrials/Materials/ Manufacturing organizations have raised average IT spend expectations, while Retail/Consumer and IT/TelCo organizations have weakened. Projected IT spend from APAC has increased substantially, as have EMEA and North America to smaller degrees; Latin America has softened vs. three months ago.
ETR has also been tracking organizational trends pertaining to IT deployments, hiring, remote work, and work travel since the onset of the Covid pandemic. In this most recent iteration, we see that more organizations indicate plans to accelerate new IT deployments and projects at 32%, much higher than the lows captured early last year at 22%. In tandem, freezing new IT deploymnets was only cited by 15% of respondents. Meanwhile, plans to increase hiring have eased slightly while hiring freezes have stabilized. Regarding the return to the office debate, we see that 43% of respondents indicate that they will continue to have employees work from home (in some capacity). While sizeable, the proportion continues to trickle down from pandemic heights and is 4 percentage points lower than teh data captured in January of 2023. However, the fully in office model is also not gaining much traction, with only 22% of respondents stating plans to return to a fully in-office work model.
When asked about their technology priorities for the coming year, the data shows that Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence continues to gain ground as a technology priority, overtaking Cloud Migration and Collaboration/ Productivity, and is now tied for the second-highest of listed sectors. Information Security remains the top priority over the next 12 months, though with a smaller average ranking lead than prior periods. Cloud Migration is less frequently being cited as a top priority, with its average ranking falling from (tied for) second highest to (tied for) fourth highest.
Less than a quarter of respondents say their organization is NOT evaluating generative AI / LLMs, a number that has consistently fallen each survey period. Customer support, text and data summarization, and code generation and documentation are the most common business use cases for which organizations are evaluating generative AI / LLMs. Writing copy has risen considerably as a use case, whereas image editing remains stagnant. In addition, In this survey period, nearly 50% of respondents said generative AI investments were newly added to the budget, while 40% said generative AI dollars were reallocated from elsewhere. Of those who said generative AI funds were reallocated from elsewhere, business applications were the most common source, followed by non-IT departments and productivity applications. Only 7% said that Gen AI budget was being sourced from existing RPA allocation.
That's enough free data for one article, but if you would like to see the full Macro Views survey report, including which vendors are most vulnerable to spending declines, you can access the entire data set on our research platform.
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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 www.etr.ai