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Looking Ahead at Technology Priorities for 2017 and Beyond

As we wind down the year, here's a look at the trends which technology leadership says will be impacting the IT organization in 2017 and beyond.   

The closing out of a year is usually met with lots of reports, predictions and forecasts for the following, and 2017 is no different. Computer World has released it's annual Tech Forecast for 2017 which attempts to give those of us in the IT world some bearings on what may be ahead for us in the new year.

Compiled between June 30th and September 2 of this year, the online survey polled 196 technology professionals who have management titles or higher. Questions are the typical fare, from whether or not the respondents expect their IT budgets to increase or drop in the coming year, to the areas organizational spending is being earmarked for, to which tech initiatives are being prioritized over the rest.  

While the results don't reveal any new shiny innovations or big shifts in strategic thinking from 2016, the numbers do indicate more certainty in the organization's intended directions. Big data programs, legacy system modernization, and shifting services to the cloud have been on the lips of IT leadership for years now, but 2017 shows that a range from 26-38% of respondents saying  spending on each of these goals will increase over the year prior. Much like the Ghost of Christmas Past, security concerns also still loom large inside the IT organization.  With massively public outages like the Dyn attack in October keeping CSOs awake at night, privacy and protection initiatives remain at the top spot for technology goals during the coming year.      

Yes, the growth and transformation projects forecast over the past several years appears to be picking up steam in 2017, but it may make you wonder how are all of these technology improvements going to get done. Luckily for our comrades in the digital trenches, 29% of respondents expect their IT employee head count to increase over the next year,  with contract labor and project outsourcing expected to move upward by 19% and 20% of survey takers respectively. That's good news for many of our friends inside the IT department, where a lack of talent is often cited as a leading cause for strain on resources, along with delays and mistakes in new initiative outcomes.


Though the items on the 2017 forecast may not look too dissimilar to last year (or the year before that, or the year before that), a cementing of intention seems to be taking place. The last year has provided time for IT leadership and company stakeholders to gain a better understanding of disruptive technologies like IoT and AI, and to figure out where, if at all, they fit into their planning. As companies continue to gain this footing and begin to raise their heads over the fast flowing currents of this new technology paradigm, they're gaining the confidence to plot out their road maps and fully engage in the efforts and investments needed to move their organizations forward into the digital future. 

»»View/Download the Full Computer World 2017 Tech Forecast««