Quick insights on technology trends and priorities in 2021

Tech Trends & Future of Work

January 28, 2022
min read
Technology trends and priorities in 2021 from Pulse

Recapping technology trends and priorities in 2021 from the Pulse community.

In 2021, tech leaders discussed, sought advice, and shared insights on many technology-related topics in the Pulse community. Digital transformation, remote working, and budgets were some of the most recurring subjects that, in 2022, still top the list of the most discussed categories.

In this post, we recap some of the most frequented topics to provide an overview of trends in 2021 using data collected from quarterly surveys the Pulse community participates in. Each quarter, the number of respondents varies. To view the original quarterly survey data, click on the One-Minute Insight Report links at the bottom of the post.

Digital transformation priorities

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation initiatives throughout 2021, with digital transformation priorities remaining fairly consistent every quarter.

Which statement best defines the state of your digital transformation strategy?

As the year progressed, most tech leaders reported that their digital transformation strategy was less cohesive than they initially thought.

Are your digital transformation efforts more designed to use the latest tools to achieve current business goals or redefine business goals based on digital opportunities?

In the majority of 2021, most respondents viewed digital transformation primarily as a means to achieve their current business goals, though this number dipped slightly in Q3.

What are you prioritizing for digital transformation?

Although cybersecurity topped the priority list for digital transformation initiatives, in Q4, “improving workflow efficiencies” took second place, pushing the long-standing “increased flexibility/scalability” priority to third place.

IT priorities and budgets

Tech leaders struggled to keep up with shifting priorities while maintaining their budgets in 2021 as COVID-19 variants continued to emerge, contributing to economic uncertainty and business disruptions.

What are your top IT priorities this quarter?

In 2021, cybersecurity remained the top IT priority for tech leaders, with other priorities shifting throughout the year.

Which resources do you rely on for vendor recommendations?

Tech leaders were increasingly using “technology blogs or publications” and “online IT communities” as a means to select vendors. However, most participants stated they used “peer recommendations” as their primary method.

On average, how long does it take your team to finalize any IT purchases over $100K?

In Q2, participants reported that their team took longer than three months to finalize IT purchases that exceeded $100,000, though this timeline decreased in Q3 and Q4, reverting to the Q1 average.

The state of remote work

Tech leadership had to pivot from managing fully remote employees to part-time remote employees as COVID-19 restrictions were gradually lifted.

Are you satisfied with the current state of remote work within your organization?

While the vast majority of decision-makers were satisfied with the overall state of remote work at their organizations, the number of respondents that stated they were highly satisfied dropped in Q3 by 11%, from 40% to 29%. In Q4, the number of highly satisfied remote workers slightly increased to 32%.

What are the top benefits of managing a remote workforce?

“Improved employee retention” increased by 12% from Q2 to Q3 and was tied for second place along with “reduced costs” in Q4. However, “increased employee satisfaction” remained the top benefit of managing a remote workforce.

What is your personal preference for your team’s work location after the COVID-19 pandemic?

Although many companies were shifting from a remote-first environment to a hybrid work model, managing remote employees still proved to be a challenge for many tech decision-makers who still considered some in-office time beneficial.

Data sourced from the following One-Minute Insight Reports:

Digital transformation

IT priorities and budgets

The state of remote work

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