Since March of 2020, ETR has been conducting a higher-level macro overview survey to determine overall spending budgets and trends impacting the enterprise technology landscape. In the October 2023 iteration, over 1,730 IT decision makers participated in the Macro Views Survey, weighing in on overall budgets, spending priorities, hiring trends and wages, rate of new IT deployments, remote work, 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 ensuing data report dealing with IT budgets, information security priorities, and generative AI. If you want the full results, our clients and community members can find them in the comprehensive Findings Report or watch the full Findings Webinar.
Diving right in, we can see that IT spend estimates for 2023 Q4 have been revised slightly from +2.3% last survey to +2.0% this survey, while the full-year 2023 estimate remains at +2.9%. On a positive note, respondents are optimistic about 2024 spending, with full-year spend anticipated to grow +3.8% compared to 2023. Small and Midsize organizations are more positive than the aggregate IT spending outlook, anticipating +5.6% and +4.6% growth, respectively, compared to just +3.1% among Large organizations.
Though total 2023 IT spend estimates show stability, some respondent subsamples buck the trend. By enterprise size, Fortune 500 and Global 2000 organizations show notable improvements compared to three months ago. Midsize and Small organizations are higher than the aggregate in absolute levels but have dipped slightly since the last survey. By industry vertical, Retail/Consumer organizations maintain more positive full-year spending estimates than other sectors, while Industrials/Materials/Manufacturing and IT/TelCo organizations show the largest growth in full-year IT spending plans compared to the last survey. By region, EMEA and APAC have both softened from three months ago.
Looking forward to 2024 IT spending, Large enterprises anticipate +3.1% growth in full-year spend, with Small and Midsize organizations again more positive at +5.6% and +4.6% growth, respectively. By industry, Industrials/Materials/Manufacturing organizations are the most conservative, estimating just +2.0% growth in IT spend for 2024, while Retail/Consumer and IT/TelCo are the most optimistic. Despite a small sample size (N=23), Latin America anticipates the most growth in IT spending for 2024 at +6.1% growth, with other regions in the mid-3% growth range.
Next, we shift the focus to technological areas of prioritization. Zero Trust Security is still the highest priority among a slate of newer technology trends, followed by generative AI, which saw the largest increase as a priority from the April 2023 survey. Real-time streaming data analytics is the third highest priority among these newer trends. Natural language processing, which came in fourth, also saw a notable increase in prioritization since April. Edge computing has decreased as a priority.
Information security priorities remain consistent with six months ago, with identity, SSO, MFA, and vulnerability management tied as the top priorities. EDR/XDR, ZTNA, and antivirus and email security followed in rank order, and web application security was the lowest priority.
Finally, we take a look at evaluation metrics for generative AI. More organizations are evaluating generative AI and large language models (LLMs) for business use cases. In APR3, more than half were NOT yet evaluating generative AI, but that number dropped to a third in July, and now only a quarter of organizations are not yet evaluating generative AI. Of those evaluating, customer support and text and data summarization are the most common use cases. For each business use case, however, less than half of those evaluating have moved into production, with customer support the most widely use case in production.
A third of respondents cite data privacy or security concerns or legal, compliance, or regulatory concerns as a reason why generative AI is not yet in production in their organizations. Respondents are evenly mixed between using generative AI and LLMs directly from the companies developing them and using generative AI capabilities embedded within existing vendor offerings. Improving data quality is the top priority to better support generative AI goals, with a third citing it. Improving data warehousing and storage was the second most widely cited priority.
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