How Will COVID-19 Affect 2021 IT Budgets?

Many organizations are seeing the impact of COVID-19 on their IT priorities and tech spends. By no surprise, the uncertainty of COVID-19 factored into many respondents’ IT budgetary plans. A recent TechRepublic Premium poll reported that 62% of survey respondents will tighten their 2021 IT budgets due to COVID-19.

The survey topics included how exactly COVID-19 influences IT budgets and where businesses plan to spend their tech dollars.

Questions ranged from how the COVID-19 crisis affects fiscal 2021 budget planning and IT priorities to who makes initial recommendations for items in the IT budget. Other questions included top budget priorities, what percentage of the overall corporate budget is allocated to IT, and more.

IT Budget Priorities
Similar to last year, security (17%) and cloud services (16%) remain top IT budget priorities, but remote technology that enables employees to work from home will definitely gain traction in 2021, as 13% of respondents ranked it a top priority.

In terms of how COVID-19 will affect IT priorities, 26% of respondents reported that they will spend more on remote technologies that enable employees to work from home, 22% will spend more on security, 19% said most of their IT staff will work from home permanently, and 17% will postpone major projects. Only 6% of respondents said that COVID-19 has not affected any of their company’s IT priorities.

IT Budget Decision Makers
IT managers are making fewer budget decisions than in the past. Last year, 54% of respondents ranked IT managers as the top IT budget decision maker. However, IT managers are making IT budget decisions for only 23% of this year’s survey respondents, and instead, decision-making responsibilities are shifting to either the CEO/CIO or other C-level business managers, according to 46% of respondents.

In 2020, the majority of survey respondents (76%) reported that their IT budgets comprised 10% or less of their organizations’ total budgetary spending. In 2021, that number dipped slightly to 71% of respondents reporting that 10% or less of the overall corporate budget will be allocated to IT.

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