Forecasts Future of Work Technologies Spend at $656B in 2021
July 12, 2021
aspects of how people and organizations work is evolving, enabled by 3rd
Platform technologies like cloud and mobile computing and accelerated by
the COVID-19 pandemic. Future of Work (FoW) is a fundamental shift in
the work model to one that fosters human-machine collaboration, enables
new skills and worker experiences, and supports a work environment
un-bounded by time or physical space. A new forecast from the
International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Future of Work Spending
Guide estimates FoW spending will be nearly $656 billion this year, an
increase of 17.4% over 2020.
"Traditional work models do not provide the agility, scalability, and
resilience required by the future enterprise. This was, of course,
highlighted by the ongoing health crisis. To drive growth and
competitive differentiation, organizations will invest in technologies
and services that power automation, human-machine collaboration, new
organizational structures and leadership styles, dynamic learning
opportunities, a reimagined workplace, and a digital work environment
that is not bounded by time or physical place," said
Holly Muscolino, research vice president, Content
Strategies and the Future of Work.
To facilitate the transition to the new workplace and an evolving
workforce, organizations are investing in a wide range of technologies
and services. The largest area of investment in 2021 will be hardware,
where companies are expected to purchase $228 billion in endpoint
devices, enterprise hardware, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and
robotics and drones. Services, including business, IT, and connectivity
services, will be the second-largest area of spending at more than $123
billion. Software will see the fastest spending growth with a compound
annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.3% over the 2020-2024 forecast period.
This includes investments in enterprise applications, content and
collaboration, analytics and artificial intelligence, human resources
applications, security, and software development and deployment.
"Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, the Internet of
Things, and augmented/virtual reality are changing how work is getting
done across all industries and across the world. Seeking automated
decision support and virtual collaborative approaches, discrete and
process manufacturing, the two largest spenders on Future of Work
technology over the forecast period, are investing in key use cases like
collaborative robotics, operational performance management, and 3D and
digital product design and review for improved cost control and higher
process efficiency," said
Eileen Smith, program vice president, Customer
Insights and Analysis.
Together, discrete and process manufacturing will account for just over
one third of all Future of Work spending this year. Professional
services, retail, and banking will be the next three industries in terms
of FoW spend in 2021. The construction industry will see the fastest
growth in FoW spending over the forecast period with a five-year CAGR of
23.7%. Media and retail will follow closely with CAGRs of 19.5% and
FoW use cases that will benefit from the most spending in 2021 include
collaborative robotics, operational performance management, and
automated customer management. The use cases that are expected to see
the fastest spending growth over the 2020-2024 forecast period are
adaptive skill development, interconnected collaborative workspaces, and
advanced project management.
"IDC forecasts investment in technologies supporting Future of Work
initiatives to exceed $1 trillion worldwide by 2024 with a robust 17%
CAGR over the five-year forecast period. All aspects of how people and
organizations work is evolving, enabled by 3rd Platform technologies and
accelerated by the pandemic. Indeed 3rd Platform hardware, such as IoT
devices, robots and drones, and IaaS, are more than one-third of the
total spend, demonstrating the growing importance of the technologies
enabling the reimagined workplace," said
Karen Massey, research manager, Customer Insights & Analysis.
Luke Lee, Head of Marketing with Geek+ America
noted that "One of the first work-related changes we saw from the health
crisis was how our traditional work model got redefined. Now, we’re
seeing hardware technology in collaborative and automation technologies
being added into the Future of Work. Those who aren’t paying attention
to new technology and hardware now will probably fall behind by 2024. In
our industry, we’re entering this new age unbound by time and space by
making improvements to supply chain material handling. We expect to see
extremely fast growth in line with the current trends."
O'Sell, Head of B2B Software Marketing at ZVerse commented,
"We are entering an age truly unbound by location and to an extent the
need to predict mass-market demand. Digital transformation enables
business agility and on-demand, environment-ready presence; from
personalized products and experiences to adaptive local manufacturing.
The next economy will enable circular solutions to design, source, make,
use, share, repair, remanufacture, and recycle anywhere."
Bob Bova, President and CEO of AccuSpeechMobile
added, "The Future of Work is the coordination and integration of new,
edge based hardware with software applications that foster collaboration
and improved processes. AccuSpeechMobile will continue to provide edge
based voice interfaces for workers to communicate hands free with all
types of mobile devices, connected to all kinds of applications. This
voice interface can also be used for communicating with drones and
robotics as well."