Here's a look at the top 2018 strategic IT budget priorities: AI, IoT, conversational systems, security everywhere

Companies will be building the foundation for artificial intelligence, analytics, IoT, digital twins, and automated systems in 2018.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Where CIOs are spending the money

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and tools such as conversational platforms, digital twins and blockchain are among the most strategic 2018 technology investments, according to Gartner.

At Gartner's Symposium/ITXpo in Orlando, Gartner outlined its top strategic investments. These investments will be pushed into a global It spend of $3.7 trillion, up 4.3 percent from a year ago.

Respondents in a Tech Pro Research survey found IT budgets will be up modestly, but there are a number of uncertainty. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said their 2018 IT budget will be up 1 percent to 10 percent.

Gartner's top 10 strategic technology trends all tie into digital transformation at some level. One key takeaway is that AI is creeping into all systems.

Key themes on the strategy front include:


AI foundation: AI will be a battleground for tech vendors as well as an investment area for companies. AI will touch customer experiences and business models. Investment areas can include data prep, algorithms and training, models and tying data scientist, developers, and business leads together.

Intelligent apps and analytics: Since every app will have some level of AI, intelligent apps will be used to augment humans. Look for companies to use machine learning to automate things like data prep and sharing insight. Packaged apps will move toward more intelligence. Indeed, SAP and Oracle have touted built-in intelligence as has Workday and Salesforce among others.

Intelligent things -- or IoT: Autonomous vehicles in controlled settings such as farming and mining will be increasingly adopted. Robotics, drones, and IoT will connect consumers, systems, and industries.

Digital twins will be used in IoT and will enhance decision-making: Digital twins will proliferate well beyond industrial settings popularized by GE.

Cloud computing at the edge: Endpoints will become more distributed and more intelligent to eliminate latency.

Conversational platforms: Conversational interfaces will show up everywhere in corporate systems as well as every level of software.

Immersive experiences, AR and VR: These experiences will appear in more enterprises for productivity, visualization, design, and training.

Blockchain: This has potential in multiple applications in government, healthcare, manufacturing, media distribution, supply chain, and identity verification. In other words, drop the financial services and Bitcoin fascination since blockchain will have more implications.

Digital business events: Companies will move toward event-driven business models. IoT, cloud, blockchain, in-memory data, and AI will be enablers.

Adaptive risk and trust: Security will be a common theme as infrastructure will have to adapt on the fly and manage risk. Automating security will be a big theme, says Oracle CTO Larry Ellison.

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