Gartner survey shows IT spending to be flat in 2009

As enterprises face a challenging economic environment, IT spending budgets will be essentially flat with a planned increase of 0.16 percent in 2009, according to results from the 2009 CIO survey by Gartner Executive Programs (EXP).

The worldwide survey of 1,527 CIOs was conducted by Gartner EXP from September 15 to December 15 2008 and represents CIO budget plans reported at that time. Flat IT budgets were found across enterprises in North America and Europe, with slight increases in Latin America and a slight decrease in Asia/Pacific.

The Gartner EXP CIO report “Meeting the Challenge: The 2009 CIO Agenda” represents the most comprehensive examination of business priorities and CIO strategies. The CIOs surveyed represent more than $138 billion in corporate and public-sector IT spending, encompassing 1,527 enterprises across 48 countries and 30 industries.

Senior enterprise executives recognize that IT’s contribution to economic performance extends beyond managing expenditures. They expect IT to play a role in reducing enterprise costs, not merely with cost cutting but by changing business processes, workforce practices and information use.

The business priority “improving business processes” has been the No. 1 business expectation of IT since its introduction to the CIO Agenda survey in 2005. In 2009, more than 57 percent of CIOs reported this as one of their top five business expectations.

Meeting the challenges of 2009 requires CIOs to lead their organizations and enterprises through decisions that have no simple answers. CIOs need to lead and have the foresight to look at IT in new ways. They will demonstrate this leadership through four imperatives:

  • Be decisive in setting priorities on actions that raise enterprise effectiveness, with a focus on improving business process, using business intelligence to raise visibility, and enhancing workforce effectiveness.
  • Do the “first things faster,” as changing economic conditions render a large project irrelevant. CIOs need to apply a prioritization process to their schedule and recognize that other important priorities can wait. They need to place greater emphasis on the schedule (when) rather than the priorities (why).
  • Be resourceful in restructuring IT to raise its productivity and agility, because the business will not reduce its demand for IT just because CIOs have fewer resources.
  • Modernize the technical infrastructure, as new technologies offer lower cost, use less energy, deliver better performance and provide greater capacity; the business will need all of these in the immediate future.

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