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Forecast 2014: How to wring value from your IT budget

Stacy Collett | Sept. 24, 2013
According to Gartner, IT budgets will chug along with small but steady 2.9% average annual increases through 2014. But what will the top five areas of increased and decreased IT spending, and top business priorities?

"It wasn't the CIO who said, 'We want voice recognition for radiologists.' It was radiologists who got it and forced it on the CIO. It's not the insurance companies that put information out on cellphones, it was the adjustors who were in the field," says Lovelock.

At some companies, decisions about bring-your-own-device policies have already been taken over by HR departments. And overall, more and more dollars are being taken out of the CIOs' hands, to be spent by others.

A cascade of IT requirements inevitably follows. "The CIO in some cases is scrambling and saying, 'I didn't recognize there would be this much demand on my network and this much demand on my storage, or this much need for processing power or these security risks,'" says Lovelock. "So they'll start to play catch-up."

-- Stacy Collett

Wireless Budgets Up
The surge in use of mobile devices has turned connectivity in general and wireless upgrades in particular into IT budget priorities, with funds earmarked for RFID, remote access, Wi-Fi, mobile/wireless devices and mobile device management, among other things.

At Texas A&M Kingsville, wireless networking will receive the largest share of the university's 2014 IT budget. "Our version of wireless is probably five years old, and nobody has thought about all these wireless devices, just laptops," Paulson says. "Now there's a huge demand for more wireless. No more access points just at the corners of the building. Now you have to cover everywhere."

Havener plans to deploy a mobile device management (MDM) system at Texas Multicore in 2014 to handle bring-your-own-device traffic from its 108 staffers across the globe.

"I've got a variety of developers, engineers and scientists worldwide who are looking for the easiest way to connect to our internal resources," he says. "I've got folks through academia who are very Apple-based, and there are the engineers who are heavily biased toward Linux environments or mainframe supercomputing, and then a bunch of business and marketing folks focused on classic Windows. So [an MDM system] would provide a seamless transition for all those folks to attach to our resources and get out of it what they need. It will define what we provide, how we provide it and what they need to do to access it."

The budget isn't budging next year at the Bridgeport, Conn., public school system. Still, CIO David Andrade will spend 30% of his 2014 IT budget on upgrading network connections and increasing Wi-Fi capabilities in 39 buildings.

"We have 100Mbps switches in our buildings, and we need to upgrade those to gigabit switches to increase the bandwidth," Andrade explains. "We have some Wi-Fi coverage but are adding thousands of mobile devices and need to add access points and bandwidth" to accommodate more than 15,000 desktops, laptops, Chromebooks and other wireless devices.


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