The 2013 IT strategic planning process: Prioritizing technology needs

Organizations are prioritizing myriad technologies -- both new and known -- as part of this year's strategic planning process.

As new technologies emerge and past IT stalwarts become passé, forward-thinking organizations must constantly reprioritize based on their tech wants, needs -- and of course, their budgets.

To get a sense of organizations' IT strategic planning process for 2013, TechTarget polled 3,282 IT managers worldwide. We learned that these IT leaders are focusing on many of the same technologies as in past years, such as infrastructure, security and software, but there's a growing sense that cloud services and consumer technologies are knocking on the enterprise door, begging for their own cut of the IT spending pie.

Table of contents:

Information technology spending going up 2.8% in 2013

In our annual survey of IT professionals, 3,292 respondents predicted their information technology spending for 2013 would increase. Overall, spending is up by an average of 2.8%.

The 2013 forecast for IT spending echoes the last two years, as IT departments have mostly been trying to get back to normal. Most shops are increasing spending, with average increases of 7.8%. About one-fifth of respondents are cutting spending by an average of about 9.3%.

Managers increasing their IT spending in 2013 are most likely to spend their extra dollars on software, following the traditional pattern. But infrastructure spending still remains a strong area. For the first time, we've asked about cloud services, and that is clearly a small but growing area of spending. First cuts are hardware and outside services.

Learn more in our slideshow on the IT strategic planning process and 2013 priorities.

Infrastructure and security still rule IT spending plans

If IT organizations and data centers are disappearing into the cloud or being replaced by end users managing them themselves anytime soon, then businesses worldwide are set to waste a lot of money on infrastructure, security and software, according to our 2013 IT forecast.

In this overview piece, Mark Schlack, TechTarget's senior vice president of editorial, looks at where IT organizations are spending their precious IT dollars in 2013. Find out which priorities have increased in importance this year and which ones have fallen behind.

Read the full story on IT prioritization and the strategic planning process in 2013.

2013 priorities include compliance, security, BYOD and cloud

Respondents to TechTarget's 2013 IT Priorities Survey said that compliance strategy was the top-ranked initiative most likely to be implemented this year, followed by mobility, cloud computing using external providers, consolidation and the private cloud. Despite all of the attention the cloud and mobility receive, the lean toward compliance is not surprising, said Chris McClean, analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.

"Whatever industry you're in, whatever geography you're in, there are companies that are doing bad things or maybe not paying attention to what they should be," McClean said. "Whether it's privacy, it's security, it's health and safety, or financial controls -- all of those areas are getting more attention from the government, so there has to be more attention paid to compliance."

Learn more about how compliance initiatives are driving the IT strategic planning process this year.

Other IT strategic planning priorities for 2013:

Examining sensible BYOD policies in the enterprise

Manufacturing mobility up, MDM down

What do cloud customers want to see in 2013?

The cloud has proven it has a knack for perseverance over the past year -- thriving in a time when other major markets nosedived as a result of ongoing economic instability in world markets.

So, what will be trending this year? Bigger budgets, increased spending, Software as a Service (SaaS), managed service providers (MSPs) and security concerns are among a few hot cloud trends you should get used to hearing about. According to the results of TechTarget's 2013 IT Priorities Survey, cloud services spending is on the rise, SaaS continues its reign, MSPs are getting some love and more developments are on the horizon.

View the full slideshow on SearchCloudProvider.com.

More on cloud and as-a-Service offerings in 2013:

Emphasis on cloud storage and Software as a Service

Many remain leery of financial accounting in the cloud

Infrastructure as a Service ramping up in many IT shops

And the survey says...make sure you have these five tech terms on your radar screen!

1. Storage virtualization - the pooling of physical storage from multiple network storage devices into what appears to be a single storage device that is managed from a central console.

“As a sign of just how pervasive virtualization has become in IT, storage virtualization jumped from 10th priority last year to 6th this year (42%) and backup for virtual servers jumped from 17th to 9th (40%).”Mark Schlack
2. Compliance framework - a structured set of guidelines that details an organization's processes and strategies for maintaining accordance with established regulations, specifications or legislation.
“Compliance strategy was the top-ranked initiative most likely to be implemented in 2013 -- besting even cloud computing and mobility -- according to respondents of the TechTarget IT Priorities Survey.”Ben Cole
3. Mobile device management (MDM) - refers to any routine or tool intended to distribute applications, data and configuration settings to mobile devices.
"In TechTarget's annual IT Priorities Survey, 38% of IT managers are planning a mobility project in 2013, but only 29% are implementing mobile device management (MDM)..."Brenda Cole
4. Cloud computing - a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet.
“Of the companies that use cloud services, 52% said they will provision their email services to the cloud in 2013; 38% will use cloud-based productivity apps; and about 42% will use a cloud-based file-sharing app, such as DropBox, according to a recent TechTarget Inc. survey of more than 1,500 IT professionals.” -- Bridget Botelho
5. Big data - a broad term used to describe the voluminous amount of unstructured and semi-structured data a company creates -- data that would take too much time and cost too much money to load into a relational database for analysis.
“…Other initiatives are competing for budget dollars as well; 22% of respondents said they have big data initiatives in the works this year." -- Stuart J. Johnston