Research: How COVID-19 will affect 2021 IT budgets

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62% of survey respondents will tighten their 2021 IT budgets due to COVID-19, reports a recent TechRepublic Premium poll.

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As IT budgetary planning for 2021 begins, many organizations are seeing the impact of COVID-19 on their IT priorities and tech spends.

How exactly COVID-19 influences IT budgets and where businesses plan to spend their tech dollars was the topic of a recent TechRepublic Premium survey.

Questions ranged from how the COVID-19 crisis affects fiscal 2021 budget planning and IT priorities to who makes initial recommendations for items in the IT budget. Other questions delved into what percentage of the overall corporate budget is allocated to IT, top budget priorities, how vendors can better assist clients, and more.  

SEE: 2021 IT budget research report: COVID-19's impact on projects and priorities  (TechRepublic Premium)

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The uncertainty of COVID-19 factored into many respondents' IT budgetary plans. Last year, 9% of survey respondents were unsure of their IT budgets, and that number grew to 20% of this year's respondents. Further, almost two-thirds of survey respondents (62%) said that they will tighten their 2021 IT budgets as a result of the coronavirus.

IT budget priorities

Similar to last year, security (17%) and cloud services (16%) remain top IT budget priorities, but remote technology that enables employees to work from home will definitely gain traction in 2021, as 13% of respondents ranked it a top priority,

In terms of how COVID-19 will affect IT priorities, 26% of respondents reported that they will spend more on remote technologies that enable employees to work from home, 22% will spend more on security, 19% said most of their IT staff will work from home permanently, and 17% will postpone major projects. Only 6% of respondents said that COVID-19 has not affected any of their company's IT priorities.

SEE: 2021 IT budget research report: COVID-19's impact on projects and priorities  (TechRepublic Premium)

IT budget decision makers

IT managers are making fewer budget decisions than in the past. Last year, 54% of respondents ranked IT managers as the top IT budget decision maker. However, IT managers are making IT budget decisions for only 23% of this year's survey respondents, and instead, decision-making responsibilities are shifting to either the CEO/CIO or other C-level business managers, according to 46% of respondents. 

In 2020, the majority of survey respondents (76%) reported that their IT budgets comprised 10% or less of their organizations' total budgetary spending. In 2021, that number dipped slightly to 71% of respondents reporting that 10% or less of the overall corporate budget will be allocated to IT.

The infographic below contains selected details from the research. To read more findings, plus analysis, download the 2021 IT budget research report: COVID-19's impact on projects and priorities (TechRepublic Premium).

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