In spite of the fact we seem to have left the 2008 recession long behind us, a new survey of CIOs by Gartner finds that IT budgets in some parts of the world will remain effectively flat or even decline for 2012.
Gartner reports that overall there will be just a 0.5 percent average budget growth worldwide with numbers actually declining in North America and Europe.
Latin America was reporting the largest IT growth with an impressive 12.7 increase in IT spending. Asia/Pacific was reporting a more modest 3.4 percent increase.
I can understand the continued belt-tightening in Europe where the economic uncertainty has persisted, but in the US where we have seen signs of life, I’m surprised by these findings.
So what does this mean to IT pros already feeling the pinch of three years of belt tightening? Well, the news might not be as bad as it looks says Mark McDonald, group vice president for Gartner Executive Programs and Gartner Fellow.
“In the face of continued economic uncertainty and government austerity, business strategies call for a combination of growth and operational efficiency,” McDonald said.
He added, “Present economic conditions may tempt CIOs to force IT back into cost-cutting mode, but senior executives expect technology — and this includes IT — to address the tough challenges by amplifying enterprise strategies and operations.”
So that’s kind of a mixed message isn’t it? While CIOs are saying they won’t spend money, McDonald is warning them that C-Suite feels they probably should (or at least it sounds that way).
Unfortunately, the numbers in the release were thin, but they did list priorities and there were some interesting findings there. We’ve been hearing increasingly about the power of Big Data and analytics to give an organization a competitive edge, and it seems that CIOs have been listening. Using analytics and business intelligence was listed as the top priority to increase enterprise growth.
When I was at the AIIM Conference last month, all I heard about was the power of data to transform enterprise decision making. I’m not so sure it’s going to be quite that easy to extract that data, but clearly there are tools and products out there to help do that. CIOs are obviously looking at this area for help.
One other interesting point was that CIOs were looking to the cloud to help reduce overall costs. This makes sense, but it seems to represent a departure from previous skeptical CIOs who were not ready to give up control of their data to outside parties. That attitude appears to be relaxing.
The survey was conducted at the end of last year and involved 2335 CIOs with total budgets of $321 billion in CIO IT budgets, which covered 37 industries across 45 countries.
While budgets continue to stay flat in many areas, CIOs still face pressure to use technology to make the business more efficient and IT pros are still doing the heaving lifting, regardless of the economics. Some things don’t change.