The 2018 Digital Trends in IT report, based on the eighth annual trends survey conducted by Econsultancy and Adobe, explores the digitally-driven opportunities and challenges facing organisations from the perspective of IT professionals, looking at both internal business factors and external technological and consumer trends.

The research is based on a sample of almost 400 senior IT leaders (manager level or above) who were among around 13,000 digital professionals taking part in the annual Digital Trends survey carried out at the end of 2017 and start of 2018.

The following sections are featured in the report:

  • The need for scalable, enterprise digital experience platforms
  • The internal focus: digital transformation and workflows
  • Managing the existential threat… and embracing the opportunities
  • Actionable tips to help future-proof your IT function


Findings include:

  • IT executives preoccupied by need to keep up with customer expectations. The high proportion (39%) of IT respondents that cite keeping up with changing customer expectations and behaviour as one of their top external challenges demonstrates the increased customer centricity of a new breed of CIO.
  • Security is still the biggest headache for IT professionals. As was the case last year, security is the main preoccupation for IT executives in terms of external threats, with respondents most likely to cite the threat of security breaches and cyber-risk threats as a challenge (42% compared to 41% in 2017).
  • Legacy systems are the greatest obstacle to digital transformation. The most significant in-company barrier to driving digital transformation is the integration of legacy systems with new technology, cited as a top-three challenge by 45% of respondents, up from 41% last year.
  • Enterprise CIOs identify requirement for extensible digital platforms. Extensible digital platforms are the top priority for IT executives at larger organisations, with well over half (57%) ranking this as a top-three priority for 2018. This compares to 42% for security of data, and the same percentage for joining up data to achieve a single view of the customer.
  • Companies struggle to master workflow capabilities. Fewer organisations than last year are taking a range of initiatives to improve workflows against the backdrop of tighter security and compliance requirements that companies are typically working towards. Just under half (48%) of respondents say they are switching to paperless, digital end-to-end workflows, compared to exactly half last year.
  • IT executives focus on real-time personalised experiences, AI and the Internet of Things as exciting opportunities. IT professionals are most likely to see the delivery of personalised experiences in real time as the most exciting prospect in three years’ time, ahead of other technological innovations such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, virtual or augmented reality, voice interfaces and payment technologies.

Econsultancy’s Digital Intelligence Briefings, sponsored by Adobe, look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape.