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What’s happening to IT departments in 2018?

By Ben Daubney |
What’s happening to IT departments in 2018?

At the end of last year, we asked enterprise IT decision makers about how they and their companies are thinking about IT and technology. The results, published in our State of IT 2018 series, found enterprises starting to separate ‘IT’ and ‘technology’: individual departments are now more likely to be involved in technology spend and strategy, but that doesn’t necessarily cover the sorts of things that could be classified as IT.

A big part of last year's conclusion came from our US research data. Historically, we found that the IT department was increasingly less likely to be responsible for all IT spend, but in September last year a significantly larger number of US IT decision makers told us that the IT department is now responsible for all IT spend, contradicting trends we've seem before. We said this was no mistake: it’s evidence of the start of a trend where the IT department is gaining control of core IT services.

Now we’re firmly in the new year, we asked decision makers in the UK some of those same questions to test our thinking.

Back in September, UK respondents were not saying the same thing - only 22% said that all IT spend was being made by the IT department. Four months later, that number is now 30%, the highest it’s been since we started this regular research in 2016.

UK IT departments are ascending to the same position in their organisations as those in the US.

And, just like those in the US, IT departments in the UK are starting to change their focus. While the rest of the organisation might still be thinking about cloud and products offered as-a-Service, IT is working on the core IT infrastructure. Compared to September's data, UK decision makers are much more likely to say that investment in on-premise servers and databases, infrastructure management tools, and data connections has increased.

Part of the reason for this is the looming threat of GDPR compliance, which becomes law in May. Organisations need to make their data handling policies and procedures more robust, and one way to do this is for organisations to take back ownership of as much data as possible. Our September research suggested that it’s likely to be the IT department that manages changes to enable GDPR compliance, hence them making an increased spend in infrastructure right now.

But it’d be wrong to suggest that all of these findings are purely down to GDPR. The research data from both last year and from this year clearly shows that organisations’ approach to technology - be that IT or otherwise - is changing.

Marketers know that enterprises buy their products and services, but they should be asking themselves which parts of an enterprise will be responsible for those purchases over the next year and beyond. The data suggests that the change is already happening.

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