Enterprises will spend $7 trillion on digital transformation by 2021

Global enterprises will spend more than $7 trillion dollars in the next four years as they struggle to modernize, build a global technology foundation for growth, and support simple, secure, and reliable access to data and services, says the IDC.

The big drivers?

The usual suspects like cloud initiatives, big data analytics, and mobility. But, IoT is becoming a major investment focus, and so are automation or AI initiatives. Connectivity is always a part of the conversation here, as well as IT services and enterprise applications.


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In 2019 alone, global enterprises will spend $1.7 trillion on digital transformation. That’s up almost 50% from the $1.2 trillion they spent this year, according to IDC. Top industries include the manufacturing and transportation sectors, but professional services and healthcare firms are also driving increased investment. By 2021, investment will reach a staggering $2.1 trillion.

One thing is clear: A wide range of industries is investing in digital transformation.

Those top industries represent just slightly more than half of all the trillions of dollars of spending. The rest, about 46%, is spread among multiple other categories.

While it’s true that companies are investing in cloud and communications technologies to grow competitiveness in an era when every company is becoming a technology company, the sleeper investment might be what all this technology does to company culture.

Digital transformation, after all, improves speed to market, competitiveness, innovation capacity, and other critical areas of an enterprise. All of those depend on culture, and culture depends on people.

That’s the piece that’s often overlooked when transformation efforts yield mixed results.

Without the right people, and without the right culture, all the technology in the world won’t save a company. Collaboration tools enable cooperation and communication, but they don’t mandate it.

All of which means that enterprise transformation includes technology, but needs to consider culture.

We’re looking to bring together key executives for a collaborative round table on digital transformation over dinner in Silicon Valley. Comment here to join me on the evening of February 13th!

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