Emerging Technology Adoption Q1 2021

Technology is a rapidly evolving ecosystem. IT leaders explore new, cutting-edge technologies to find the best fit to achieve the goals of the business, whether that be to improve customer experience, reduce costs, or explore new revenue options. However, innovative technologies can be more costly and are inherently risky as data about long-term effectiveness and return on investment are not always available.

Pulse surveyed over 250 tech executives to understand in Q1 2021:

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Emerging Technology Adoption Q1 2021

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Data collected from Jan. 14 - Feb. 23, 2021

Respondents: 252 IT executives

IT leaders are spending more on emerging technologies—and boards are receptive

Half of the respondents report that their innovation budget is 0-5% of revenue in Q1 2021.

83% of IT leaders are willing to spend more on emerging technologies than a year ago.

Over two-thirds (69%) of IT leaders believe their board is willing to invest in emerging technologies.

More than half (65%) of IT executives expect innovation spend to increase in the next quarter.

IT leaders look to emerging tech to improve their existing business, highlighting customer experience and IT automation as ripe for innovation

Organizations find that innovation is most useful for optimizing current business goals (61%).

The top three challenges IT leaders are looking to resolve through emerging technologies are customer experience (68%), IT automation (63%), and cybersecurity (53%).

AI/ML, automation, and distributed cloud the most sought out emerging tech—and increased efficiencies will be the main metric for success

When it comes to emerging technologies, IT leaders are prioritizing AI/ML (62%), automation (50%), and distributed cloud (36%).

For 41% of industry leaders, increased efficiency is the primary measure of success for new technology implementation, followed by user satisfaction (20%) and cost reduction (15%).

Leaders dedicate time to explore innovation, mostly through tech news platforms/podcasts and peer recommendation—and many are exploring startups

80% of IT leaders set aside time specifically to explore innovative trends.

Digital leaders primarily turn to tech news and podcasts (39%) when researching emerging technologies, followed by peer recommendations (27%) and analyst firms (19%).

67% engage with startups at least sometimes when considering an emerging technology purchase.

Respondent Breakdown


Emerging Technology Adoption Q1 2021

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About Pulse

Pulse is a social research platform trusted by technology leaders around the world. These leaders rely on the community to make connections, share knowledge, get advice, and stay on top of current trends in the technology space. The questions, polls, and surveys posted in the platform are curated in Pulse's One-Minute White Paper reports, which reflect what technology leaders care about right now—and in the rapidly evolving world of software, real-time data and insights in what matters most.