Trimming Your Budget? Don’t Cut Your IT Spending!

 

Even though businesses worldwide are expected to spend less on IT this year as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, infrastructure spending among these entities is still projected to moderately increase, but why?

IDC in February projected worldwide IT spending to reach $4.3 trillion in 2020, an increase of 3.6 percent over 2019. Since then, COVID-19 has changed the world dramatically. Now, due to the overwhelming economic impact of this pandemic, the IT research firm expects worldwide IT spending to decline 5.1 percent in constant currency terms this year to $2.25 trillion. While these numbers paint a bleak picture for some in the tech space, the IT infrastructure market tells a different story.

This part of the IT market is projected to grow to $237 billion, nearly a 4 percent year-over-year increase. This market’s moderate growth is being attributed to more businesses turning to the cloud during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“IT spending is very uneven right now with businesses dealing with the type of crisis that was not envisaged in many contingency plans,” said Stephen Minton, program vice president in IDC’s customer insights and analysis group. “When all is said and done, we expect to find that early adopters of cloud and other digital technologies were best positioned to ride out this kind of storm with the least amount of disruption from an operational perspective, even if the direct impact on revenue is still more affected by external factors that no CEO or CIO saw coming.”

The fact businesses are spending on IT infrastructure is a good thing (they should be focusing their efforts on leveraging more cloud-based technologies). However, they’re still cutting back elsewhere, which, depending on where they trim, can result in unintended consequences in the long term.

Before making any cuts to your IT budget, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Cybersecurity challenges are becoming more complex for employers

The COVID-19 outbreak has made it even more difficult for businesses to protect themselves and their customers from the ever-evolving threat landscape. As expected, cybercriminals are exploiting the pandemic. COVID-19 has been at the center of a litany of malicious campaigns across the globe.

While cybercriminals are luring victims by mainly preying on fear during the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re also targeting businesses with employees working remotely. Forty-six percent of companies worldwide have encountered at least one cybersecurity scare since shifting to a remote working model during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to Barracuda CTO Fleming Shi in a recent blog post. What hackers are doing is taking advantage of potential cybersecurity weaknesses in remote workspaces.

Forty percent of businesses have already cut their cybersecurity budgets to save money during the COVID-19 crisis, according to the same research outlined highlighted in the blog post. With the number of threats rising, you probably don’t want to do the same if you’re going to stay protected.

IT support tickets are rising

With more employees working from home now than ever before, IT helpdesks are busy. Forty-one percent of local government CIOs have experienced a dramatic spike in IT helpdesk requests, according to a survey published by CompTIA’s Public Technology Institute (PTI). Many of these requests are related to videoconferencing tools employees haven’t used before the COVID-19 crisis.

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but one thing is sure: Technology solutions are critical to the future of work. To accommodate the needs of your employees and customers, you’re going to be deploying more technology sooner than later. COVID-19 is changing the future of work. For example, many employees are hoping to work from home even after the pandemic is over. Do you have a plan in place for some of your employees to work remotely after this crisis passes? Use this time to determine how technology can shape your business’s future.

Overall IT spending may be down worldwide, but don’t take this as a sign to dial back your IT budget. Use this moment to assess how you can use technology to strengthen your post-COVID-19 workplace.

While cloud-based technologies are valuable, especially in an environment where more and more people are working remotely, focusing on how IT professionals can add value to your business as a whole is going to be what separates you from your competitors.