Gartner Research

Executive Pulse: Tech and Data Investment Priorities for 2021

Published: 09 July 2020

ID: G00732254

Analyst(s): Corporate Strategy Research Team

Summary

Here’s a roll-up of pandemic-related executive sentiment and insights from thousands of functional leaders across the C-suite.

Fast word on tactics and concerns from thousands participating in our conference calls andpolls.

More detailed role-specific reports may be available on the website, depending on your subscription.

In a survey of over 300 senior product managers across North America, Europe and the Asia/Pacific region, we asked about investment decisions affected by COVID-19 …

  • A quarter are predicting an increase in data and analytics spending.

  • Sixty-seven percent see these investments staying about the same.

  • Just 8% predict them to fall.

The respondents, (who mainly work in technology and business services, software, and cloud services) also predict the pandemic’s investment impact on ...

  • Development and engineering, where 21% predict a rise and 70% expect no change.

  • Services and support, where 20% predict a rise and 71% expect no change.

Overall, levels of anticipated investment remain fairly stable across the range of spending categories:

Figure 1. Tech Product Manager Investment Decisions Affected by COVID-19

Heading into next year, Data & Analytics (D&A) will continue to play an important role during the recovery process by providing insight into cost saving opportunities, new revenue streams and risk management.

In a separate global survey of almost 100 IT and D&A leaders across a full range of industries, more than a quarter (26%) expect a budget increase, despite the current economic turbulence.

  • 61% say they expect D&A spending to stay about the same.

  • Only 13% forecast a decrease.

Similarly, 58% don’t think COVID-19 will have any direct implications for D&A investment planning in 2021.

  • 19% expect it will lead to more spending.

  • 24% believe it will have a dampening impact.

Figure 2. Most Predict Minimal Impact of COVID-19 on Domain’s FY21 D&A Budget

These leaders want to help the business adapt by increasing D&A spend to ...

  • Improve process efficiency (40%)

  • Enhance the customer experience (35%)

  • Reduce risk (33%)

  • Improve employee efficiency (31%)

  • Automate decision making (28%)

  • Develop new products (26%)

Figure 3. COVID-19 Focuses Budget Increases on Efficiencies, Customer Experience and Risk Reduction

In addition to more robust investments in data analytics, organizations can also use existing technology and datasets to strengthen decision making…

The shipping company Purolator wanted to improve its management of long-term projects during the crisis. To help, CIO Ricardo Costa created a project tracking tool in Microsoft Teams using the planner function. The system is designed to:

  • Provide leadership with line-of-sight into ongoing projects

  • Avoid duplication of effort

  • Support priority undertakings

  • Help anticipate unforeseen implications of starting, stopping or accelerating projects

Here’s how it works:

  • The planner is controlled by a cross-functional group of 20 initiative owners dubbed the “Executive Pandexit” team, which is leading the crisis response.

  • They enter any new projects and those put on hold, placing priority activities on the left side of the screen.

  • Other columns are labeled “sprints” to indicate short term phases. They include information about project owners, due dates, priority ratings, progress status and notes.

Using the tool, the group considers which projects should be scrapped entirely or restarted. For example, the team shelved an HR project to increase recruitment from top universities in favor of initiatives aimed at maintaining productivity, health and safety within its workforce.

Compiled by Daniel Ryntjes

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