Survey reveals the top three IT initiatives for 2018—all three are data-centric: business intelligence, machine learning/artificial intelligence, and big data. Full press release below.

New York, NY, January 18, 2018 – In its inaugural Voice of the Enterprise (VotE) Digital Pulse survey, 451 Research finds that IT leaders are embracing a new model of off-premises, service-oriented IT solutions and will be looking to harness data in new ways to differentiate themselves in 2018. Respondents revealed that the top three IT initiatives for 2018 are all data-centric: business intelligence, machine learning/artificial intelligence and big data.

The survey finds that IT organizations’ ability to exploit digital transformation is uneven with over 60% of organizations having no formal transformation strategy in place and many admitting they face challenges in achieving optimal business-IT alignment.

Sixty percent of enterprises surveyed for Digital Pulse say they will run the majority of their IT outside the confines of enterprise datacenters by the end of 2019, chiefly using off-premises service provider environments such as public cloud infrastructure and SaaS.

Accordingly, the largest spending increase in 2018 is for IT delivered ‘as a service,’ at the expense of the traditional on-premises model. 451 Research finds information security is also high on the IT agenda, with 16% of organizations saying that area is getting the largest budget increase.

Providers such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are emerging as enterprises’ most strategic technology suppliers; 35% of organizations say Microsoft will be their most strategic partner by the end of 2019, compared to 33% today, while 17% say AWS will hold that position two years from now compared to 7% today.

The Digital Pulse survey also highlights a revolution in how organizations will harness data to differentiate themselves and create new value. The top three IT initiatives for 2018 were all data-centric: 45% of respondents pointed to business intelligence, 29% mentioned machine learning/artificial intelligence while 28% said big data.

The growth opportunity around data is clear with almost 30% of organizations saying ML/AI is a top priority in 2018 while just 12% of respondents use these solutions today.

Meanwhile, usage of much-hyped technologies such as blockchain remains very low, but more organizations will begin to move from tire kicking to actual deployment over the next year, with 12% of Digital Pulse respondents citing blockchain as a top IT priority for 2018.

“The survey suggests that many – but certainly not all – organizations are finally reaching the point where they can focus on endeavors that help differentiate the business, instead of merely keeping the lights on. In 2018 we expect to see much of this effort focused around a new set of approaches to data optimization and analysis,” said Melanie Posey, Research Vice President and General Manager, Voice of the Enterprise, 451 Research.

About Digital Pulse: The 451 Research Voice of the Enterprise (VotE) Digital Pulse is a comprehensive quarterly survey of over 1,000 IT professionals worldwide that takes a top-line ‘pulse’ of the state of enterprise IT strategy and the nature, pace and direction of digital transformation. Subscribers can access more detail here.

About 451 Research: 451 Research is a preeminent information technology research and advisory company. With a core focus on technology innovation and market disruption, we provide essential insight for leaders of the digital economy. More than 100 analysts and consultants deliver that insight via syndicated research, advisory services and live events to more than 1,000 client organizations in North America, Europe and around the world. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in New York, 451 Research is a division of The 451 Group.

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