IT Priorities and Budgets for Q2 2021

Q2 2021 finds IT teams transitioning to, or planning for, a possible return to the physical workplace as COVID-19 vaccination programs progress in certain regions. As ever, there are myriad factors influencing what IT teams need to prioritize, and only so much budget available to achieve quarterly goals, particularly given a year of economic uncertainty and no guarantees for the future. What are IT departments focussing on in Q2 of 2021?  

In this quarterly One-Minute Insight Report, Pulse surveyed 298 tech leaders about:

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IT Priorities and Budgets for Q2 2021

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Data collected from April 8 - June 13, 2021

Total respondents: 298 tech decision-makers

In Q2, IT leaders are still targeting cybersecurity, though cloud infrastructure has become a higher priority

Cybersecurity (60%, up from 58% in Q1) remains the top priority for IT this quarter, followed by cloud infrastructure (50%, up from 40% in Q1), and cost reduction (48%, down from 50% in Q1).

88% of leaders report that their priorities remain largely unchanged from Q1.

Security tools remain top of leaders’ shopping lists this quarter, with some tools seeing big changes in priority

For tool purchases, data security (51%, up from 48% in Q1) remains the top priority, though data analytics/business intelligence tools have risen to second in the list (37%, same as Q1), with IAM tools displaced to third (35%, down from 48% in Q1). RPA tools also made a jump (22%, up from 12% in Q1), as did VPNs (17%, up from 3% in Q1).

“[Our priority this quarter is to] maintain the motivation and rhythm of the team’s work.”

- C-Suite, large enterprise

“Our biggest challenge [this quarter] is to automate a lot of stuff we do manually.”

- Manager, public sector

The chance of achieving these goals may get a boost as IT budgets continue to grow, showing a slight quarter-on-quarter increase

When it comes to purchasing power, 41% report that their IT budget is increasing compared to last quarter, up from 38% in Q1.

Over a third (37%) of leaders expect IT spend to represent 4-6% of revenue this quarter, similar numbers to the previous quarter (33% expected an increase of 4-6%).

“[Our priority this quarter is] Improving data security and process compliance without exceeding the budgets.”

- C-Suite, small-medium business

Cloud spend continues to rise in Q2, hardware spend less so

63% report an increase in cloud and managed services spending this quarter. That’s up from 56% in Q1.

[Our biggest challenge this quarter is] multi-cloud / hybrid cloud management and IT security.”

- Director, large business

35% of leaders expect to spend more on hardware this quarter, down from 39% in Q1.

“The needs for infrastructure change have increased by a lot. Outdated hardware and the push to go to the cloud not heard or understood.”

- C-Suite, small-medium business

Leaders continue to seek out peers for vendor recommendations above all other resources

Leaders mostly evaluate the need for new tech based on Manager or Director-level requests (77%, up from 67%).

Peer recommendation (82%, up from 74% in Q1) and analyst reports (61%, down from 63% in Q1) are the main resources leaders use when considering vendors, though technology blogs/publications have risen to joint-second place (61%, up from 55% in Q1).

Planned >$100K purchases still on for most, but slightly down in Q2

Most leaders (59%) are planning to make an IT purchase of over $100K this quarter, though that’s down from 63% in Q1.

However, most >$100K purchases are now finalized every 3-4 months (35%, despite being down from 36% in Q1) rather than every 1-2 months (33%, down from 46% in Q1).

“[Our biggest challenge this quarter is] transitioning workers back to the workplace after working from home.”

- Director, public sector

Respondent Breakdown


IT Priorities and Budgets for Q2 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 Insight 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.