TotalCIO

Jan 21 2010   1:45PM GMT

2010 IT budgets are unsettled and unsettling

Linda Tucci Linda Tucci Profile: Linda Tucci

After a week or so on the phone with any CIO I could get in touch with, here’s my super-unscientific prognostication on IT budgets in 2010: IT spending and CIO priorities are all over the board.

  • Some IT departments are still focused on cost-cutting in the face of budget decreases in 2010.
  • Another chunk of CIOs are tackling long-delayed upgrades this year to increase efficiency and productivity, rather than adding capabilities.
  • End-of-life systems are getting replaced. The death march of old PBX systems continues.
  • And lastly, CIOs believe that automated work processes that were put in place due to layoffs better position their organizations when and if an economic upturn comes.
  • You get the picture — it’s all over the board.

    In an attempt to put some data to these impressions, I checked the most recent predictions coming out of the research houses and found them to be no help at all. What can you make of things, when Gartner is predicting a 1.3% growth in IT budgets for 2010 — so basically flat — while Forrester Research is projecting 6.6% budget growth for the IT market in 2010?

    Certainly, the Gartner prediction is more in line with other surveys out there. Our own TechTarget polling shows the majority of CIOs expect IT budgets to be flat or smaller this year. Then again, Gartner got 2009 wrong, starting out by predicting roughly 3% growth in IT budgets in 2009 only to revise that number downward quarter by quarter. This week, Gartner proclaimed 2009 the worst year ever for IT budgets: down by 8.1%, wiping out four years of growth.

    Meanwhile, over at Forrester, analyst Andy Bartels told me it is not surprising that CIOs are telling survey takers that budgets are flat or down next year. “Coming out of recession, they want to be cautious; they don’t want to go out on a limb,” he said. Barring the country slipping back into recession, however, he is convinced that CIOs “will get leave to spend over their budgets.”

    Question of the day: Are you getting any signals from the boss that you’ll be able to spend over your official budget this year?

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    • TamaraDigi
      I think the pressure on IT Managers to remain efficient and up to speed on new technology is difficult, especially when their budget fluctuates so much. No wonder a lot of IT managers use free software packages, which are more compatible with existing software; as found out through research undertaken by Global Graphics http://bit.ly/GlobalGraphicsfreesoftware.
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