CompTIA Report Cites Top 10 IT Trends to Watch in 2020

The global IT industry is expected to reach $5.2 trillion in 2020 with the U.S. capturing about 32% of that, or $1.7 trillion.

Lynn Haber

November 27, 2019

4 Min Read
Number Ten, 10

The recently released “CompTIA IT Industry Outlook 2020“ report suggests that the U.S. technology market may dip a bit, compared to last year, due to cautious decision-making in an unpredictable environment, potentially negatively impacted by currency fluctuations or trade policies causing companies to rethink discretionary IT purchases. Other growth inhibitors — shrinking margins or profitability, labor costs and the availability (or lack thereof) skilled IT workers, and disruption or competition from new firms entering the IT space.

CompTIA-IT-Industry-Outlook-2020-300x189.pngAt the same time, the report authors also look at factors that could drive growth in 2020, such as reaching new customer segments, an uptick in business from the existing customer base, selling new business lines and/or launching new products, improvement to sales and marketing efforts, improvement to internal operations, running more efficiently, positive government action, such as deregulation, tax code changes and so on.

Looking at the bigger picture, CompTIA projects the global information technology industry will grow at a rate of 3.7% in 2020. On the high end, the forecast is about 5.4% and on the low end, 1.9%. IDC projects the global IT industry to reach $5.2 trillion in 2020; for the U.S., that figure is about $1.7 trillion or about 32% of the total forecast.

At the top of the report, CompTIA lists the top 10 trends to watch in 2020. They are:

  1. Tech-washing fades in favor of real strategy.

  2. Workforce diversity grows in many ways.

  3. Tech topics are front and center in U.S. elections.

  4. Hype meets reality with emerging technology.

  5. Internet of things continues to redefine IT architecture.

  6. Artificial intelligence eats the world.

  7. Demand for integration leads to demand for automation.

  8. Cybersecurity becomes more operational.

  9. Deep fakes and 5G exacerbate the data management challenge.

  10. Tech industry regulation stirs fears.

Looking at tech spending in the U.S., the report states that tech services and software account for nearly half of spending in the tech market, which is much higher compared to elsewhere. The key categories of the IT industry in the U.S. market, according to IDC: software (20%), devices and infrastructure (17%), IT and business services (30%), emerging tech (13%) and telecom services (20%).

In the eyes of IT professionals, the IT industry looks promising. In the U.S., 86% of IT professionals rate their outlook as very good or fairly good. And why not? The demand for technology skills is high. “There is also a sense that the importance of technology to business objectives makes technology a more integral part of business operations and gives IT pros an opportunity to play a role in the direction of the organization,” states the report authors.

Homing in on the U.S. market, the CompTIA report looks at organizational focus across four IT pillars — software development (57%), cybersecurity (51%), data (47%) and infrastructure (45%) — and critical areas in each of these four areas.

In addition to looking at skills needs and development, the report also states that diversity and inclusion is going to be…

…a major workforce topic in the upcoming year, despite the fact that recent CompTIA research reported that 30% of companies claimed improvement in the diversity of the tech workforce over the past couple of years.

Four out of 10 companies say that fostering workforce diversity is a high priority for 2020. How to do it? The report lists nine options for improving diversity and inclusion, with the top three being provide flexible work arrangements (41%), provide workforce training on diversity/inclusion (36%) and provide management training on diversity/inclusion (35%).

Another report section addresses the business of technology, which the report authors say continues to evolve. Think of all of the change across the IT channels such as changing business models, the competitive landscape, new customer type and buying patterns.

“Technology and the business of selling it has grown far more complex,” said the report authors.

Still, channel partner firms are clear about what they think will contribute to positive outcomes next year. “Six in 10 channel firms said the number 1 factor that will ensure robust growth for them will be their ability to reach new customer segments. This likely means both expanding into new vertical markets or simply growing the aggregate number of customers across the business.”

Other factors that will help solidify positive growth in 2020: increasing internal efficiency, selling new business lines, increasing sales ad marketing efforts and positive government actions, such as deregulation.

Partners are also worried about some things for 2020, such as labor costs and the skills shortage, particularly as complexity increases and emerging technologies come more into play. Channel partners also worry about a growing technology backlash, 71% in 2019 compared to 34% in 2018. Think about controversial issues such as privacy violations, data breaches, social media enabled election interference.

“Four in 10 partners believe that greater scrutiny will come from customers themselves,” state the report authors.

Still, partners are optimistic that emerging technology represents opportunity and future sales. Fifty-two percent of channel firms expect to see significant gains from emerging technology and 42% expect modest gains, while just 6% expect minimal gains.

About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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