CIO Survey: Where Top Technology IT Execs Will Invest In 2017

Because That's Where The Money Is

As the new year dawns over the channel, chief information officers have set their budgets for 2017 and, in many cases, boosting the amount of money allocated for IT. According to a survey conducted by financial services company Piper Jaffray, 75 percent of CIOs plan to increase their company's investment in information technology this year, including servers, cloud computing and security.

Although the majority of survey respondents this year expect to bolster their IT budgets between one and five percent, CIOs in surveys for 2015 and 2016 predicted their IT budgets would swell more than 5 percent, meaning they are being more fiscally conservative this year.

The study, which polled more than 160 CIOs across 10 industries, asked the executives which technologies they planned to increase their spending on in 2017.

Solution providers looking to follow the money should take a look at the breakdown of technologies that CIOs plan to invest the most in this year. Here is the top eight.

8. Wireless LANs

Thirty-two percent of CIOs surveyed said they plan to increase their investment in wireless local area networks this year, making WLANs the eighth most popular technology investment in 2017.

The increasing number of mobile devices used within large organizations, for which WLAN is the primary network connectivity solution, is likely fueling the spending ramp up.

Even though the number of wireless-enabled devices in the workplace has increased, according to the Piper Jaffray report, roughly 21 percent of CIOs said their organization has yet to implement an enterprise grade wireless system. That could signal channel opportunities for more WLAN deployments in 2017.

7. Unified Communications

Unified communications took the No. 7 spot on the survey this year, with 32 percent of CIOs tagging this technology as one they will be increasing their investment in during 2017.

UC has held its spot as the seventh most invested-in technology by CIOs for the last three years. Roughly 35 percent of surveyed CIOs marked the technology as an area for expanded spending last year, as did 37 percent of CIOs in 2015.

6. Mobile

Thirty-six percent of CIOs surveyed by Piper Jaffray said they would increase their investment in mobile technologies this year, making the category the sixth most popular for increased investment.

Mobile technology's latest ranking, however, is a drop from the No. 2 spot it held in 2015 when 62 percent of CIOs surveyed reported they would be increasing spend in the category. For 2016 mobile ranked No. 4 with 46 percent of CIOs planning on growing their mobile IT spending.

Nevertheless, 62 percent of respondents plan to continue investing in mobile at the same rate they did in 2016 and only 3 percent said they would decrease the amount of spending their companies are planning in mobile.

5. Servers

Servers kept its spot as the fifth most popular technology on which CIOs will increase spending this year with 36 percent of respondents planning on increasing their investment in the technology. Forty-eight percent of respondents reported they would hold their server spending at the same level with 16 percent of respondents decreasing their investments.

Overall, servers have remained an important spending item for CIOs, holding their rank as No. 5 on their shopping lists for the last three years.

4. Switching/Routing

For the first time in several years, switching and routing products were tapped as one of the top five investments for CIOs with 46 percent of respondents reporting that they planned to increase their spending on the technology this year.

In both 2015 and 2016 switching and routing technologies were tagged as a spending-growth priority by only 38 percent of surveyed CIOs.

Piper Jaffray said the heightened focus on switching and routing products in 2017 indicates that more enterprises are updating their data centers and wiring closets - a trend that could be a huge opportunity for networking equipment solution and service providers.

3. Storage

This is the fifth year in a row that storage technologies ranked as a top-three spending priority for CIOs with 53 percent of those surveyed saying they expect to increase their spending on storage this year.

The continued spending growth for storage products might come as a surprise given the increasing adoption of public cloud services, including cloud storage. But the volume of data being collected and stored by IT organizations has been growing exponentially as well.

Dell/EMC was the storage system vendor most preferred among CIOs, according to the survey, while NetApp and Commvault were ranked as the most preferred secondary vendors. But 24 percent cited hyper-converged infrastructure system supplier Nutanix as the vendor they expected to work with the most in the new year.

2. Software/Cloud

Software and cloud services continue to increase as an area of budget importance for CIOs. This year 68 percent of those surveyed said they plan to increase their spending here in 2017.

This category, in fact, has seen increased investment annually through the last three years, with the percentage of respondents planning on increased investment jumping from 62 percent in 2015 to 68 percent this year.

1. Security

Given the recent headlines about IT security breaches and compromised data, it comes as no surprise that security is the top spending priority for CIOs in the coming year, as it has been every year since 2012.

This year about 80 percent of CIOs plan on increasing spending on security technology in 2017. Although that's down slightly from 82 percent in 2016, this year's 80-percent response is still the second highest this technology category has received over the last six years.