02Cybersecurity and data sovereignty are the biggest IT infrastructure investment drivers

When ECI respondents were asked to name the single most important decision factor driving their IT infrastructure purchasing decisions, their diverse array of answers reflected a wide spectrum of organizational priorities (Figure 4).

Variables such as industry, company size, geography, local compliance regulations, business and sustainability goals, and internal IT philosophies and strategies all play a role throughout the ECI respondent base.

That said, among those in the public sector, cybersecurity and data sovereignty—the ability to comply with national rules for data storage and control—tied as the top criterion, at 13% each. Cost was mentioned least often, both among public sector respondents (4%) and globally (5%).

Figure 4. Top-ranking infrastructure decision criteria (Q4)

13 %


13 %

Data sovereignty

11 %

Data protection and recovery

9 %


9 %

Ability to easily move existing applications to the public cloud

9 %

Regulatory concerns and compliance

8 %

Flexibility to run across clouds and on-prem

7 %

Data distribution across edge, datacenter, public cloud(s)

6 %


6 %

Data services (e.g., files, blocks, objects)

5 %

Application requirements

4 %


Figure 4: Top-ranking infrastructure decision criteria (Q4)

03Mixed environments create new challenges and demand for a single place to manage all workloads and data

Most ECI respondents agree that having a single platform to manage their diverse private and public infrastructures would be ideal. Among those from ECI public sector organizations, 95% agreed, as did 94% of IT pros from the full global ECI response pool. It follows that most respondents mentioned data-centric management, security, backup, and storage issues as the most challenging aspects of managing growing hybrid IT environments that span multiple datacenter and cloud borders.

For example, those from the public sector chose data analytics and orchestration (44%) most often as a mixed-infrastructure management challenge (Figure 5). This factor was followed by disaster recovery (43%) and data storage costs (42%). Similarly, the full global response pool mentioned both data analytics/orchestration (43%) and data storage costs (43%) as top mixed-cloud management challenges most often.

While 93% of respondents from the public sector agree that tackling their cross-cloud management challenges requires visibility into where all data resides across the extended IT infrastructure (Q11), far fewer—36%—report actually having that visibility today (Q9). This percentage was moderately lower than the global response pool (40%). The visibility findings indicate a capabilities gap that reflects room for improvement in the availability of integrated tools for hybrid IT operations, as IT shops can’t manage, secure, synchronize, or analyze what they can’t see.

Figure 5. Top Data Management Challenges with Mixed Environments (Q9a)

Global Public Sector - Data analytics and orchestration


All - Data analytics and orchestration


Data storage costs


Figure 5: Top Data Management Challenges with Mixed Environments (Q9a)

04The overriding driver of application movement among ECI public sector respondents in the past year was to improve data security

Nearly all respondents in the global public sector (98%) indicated that they had moved applications between IT infrastructures in the past 12 months, and 47% cited a desire to improve their company’s security posture or their ability to meet regulatory requirements as a reason (Figure 6).

Improving data security was also the top reason for moving applications among all ECI respondents, cited by a similar percentage (46%). The hope of accelerating data access speeds was a moderately distant second reason for application mobility among public sector respondents (39%), followed by a wish to integrate with cloud-native services, such as AI and machine learning (38%).

Figure 6. Reasons for Moving Apps Across Infrastructure in the Past Year (Q6)

Global Public Sector


Improve security posture and/or meet regulatory requirements


Improve data access speeds


Integrate with cloud-native services


Gain better control of the application


Meet sustainability goals


Outsourcing IT management


Faster application development


Disaster recovery


Capacity concerns


Executive mandate




Figure 6: Reasons for moving apps across infrastructure in the past year (Q6)

05Cost factors remain a wild card

ECI respondents tend to be fickle in their attitudes toward IT cost, which seems to be inching downward on IT priority lists. In addition to playing the smallest role in today’s infrastructure decisions, cost was the lowest-ranking driver behind application movement across all industries globally, mentioned as infrequently as by 10% of those in the construction and property industry and as often as by 37% in the energy/utilities market (though less than any other factor).

At the same time, however, most respondents rank controlling costs high on their list of challenges. For example, 86% of public sector respondents and 85% of respondents globally described cloud cost control as a challenge with managing their current IT infrastructures, and more than a third of each group—36% of public sector organizations and 34% of global respondents—said it was a "significant" one. (Q5)

One explanation is that as the value and volume of corporate data continue to skyrocket, data management, security, protection, synchronization, and backup/recovery concerns are moving top of mind. Data is now a business asset that must stay up-to-date, secure, and readily available for continued operations, analytics, and monetization. In addition, infrastructure total cost of ownership (TCO) has many components that make it difficult to compare apples to apples during upfront decision-making, particularly given that public cloud offerings, pricing models, and service fees are in a perpetual state of change.