To understand more about spending on technology for information workers, Forrester Research surveyed more than 2,700 IT executives and technology budget decision-makers in the spring of 2011. The firm published results from the survey in the December, 2011 report, “Forrsights: Analytics, Mobile, and Collaboration Lead 2011 Tech Investment Growth” (available to Forrester subscribers or for purchase).

Highlights from the Forrester study

In a nutshell, Forrester’s findings indicate that IT investments are on the rise to help information workers become even more social and more mobile, and even better equipped to find meaning in data.

  • IT orgs plan to increase spending on, and adoption of, BI software. BI/analytics topped the list for highest projected software spending increase, with an average planned spending increase of 3.9% in 2011 over 2010. Likewise, the #2 initiatives likely to be the IT organization’s top technology priorities during the coming 12 months was increasing the use of BI and decision support tools and services. (Sixty eight percent of survey respondents said it was either a high priority or a critical priority.) These numbers make perfect sense when you consider that the top two business priorities in 2011 were growing overall company revenue (65% of survey respondents) and lowering the firm’s overall operating costs (57%). Many organizations deploy BI to help them achieve exactly these goals.
  • Nearly half of orgs are increasing investments in mobility. According to Forrester, growth in adoption of mobile technologies in the workplace was initially powered by employees who purchased their own smartphones and work-related mobile applications to increase productivity and efficiency. In response to user demand, 48% of firms surveyed said they planned to increase corporate spending on mobile apps and mobile middleware in 2011, 42% of firms said they planned to increase spending on smartphones, and 43% of firms said they would increase spending on tablets and application development.
  • Almost 1/3 of orgs said they planned to increase spending on collaboration tools. Thirty two percent of firms said they planned to increase spending on collaboration applications from 2010 to 2011. According to Forrester, the need for these technologies has increased as the workforce becomes more dispersed, with benefits including improved collaboration and decision making, faster problem solving, and reduced travel expenses. Also, 26% of survey respondents said they planned to implement collaborative project management, case management, or services management apps in 2011—and 24% said they planned to implement a social media platform.

Information workers are mobile and social and need easily-accessible, user-friendly tools for exploring data, discovering insights, and arriving at decision. These warm and fuzzy Forrester numbers are indicative of a big effort on the part of organizations around the world to provide information workers—modern-day hunter-gatherers—with the best possible toolkit for getting the job done.

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