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Forecast 2015: IT spending on an upswing

Stacy Collett | Nov. 4, 2014
As purse strings loosen up, CIOs blend innovation into 2015 IT budgets, but security and cost containment remain top priorities.

5. Wireless/mobile
Mobile spending rounds out the top five budget items for 2015 identified by respondents to the Computerworld Forecast survey. Some 35% of the respondents said that their organizations plan to invest in RFID technology, remote access tools, Wi-Fi, mobile/wireless devices and mobile device management systems. "There's a lot of investment around not so much the devices now, but more on the infrastructure and custom application development," Minton says. Companies also plan to spend on technology to support bring-your-own-device programs -- most notably the systems necessary to provide secure mobile access to internal systems, he adds.

Not Making the Cut
While spending will increase in some areas, it will inevitably decline in others. Hardware was the area most commonly cited as a target of cuts in the Computerworld Forecast survey, with 24% of the respondents saying that their employers will decrease spending on servers, desktops, laptops and other types of equipment. And with more companies thinking about outsourcing IT operations or moving systems to the cloud, 19% of those polled said legacy systems modernization or replacement will be put on the back burner and 16% said that they will spend less on data center consolidation and optimization.

"We're making concerted efforts to spend less money on on-premises infrastructure and . . . data centers," says Georgetown's Davis. "We want to leverage cloud solutions or technologies in order to find ways to be more efficient and effective."

But hardware spending isn't going away anytime soon for the majority of companies. "Moving everything to the cloud is not going to happen overnight," says Minton, who estimates that 70% to 80% of IT budgets usually go toward maintenance and upkeep.

"We think it's going to take as long as a decade for the whole journey to the cloud to pan out," he explains. In fact, IDC predicts that spending on physical hardware will rise slightly in the first half of next year before slowing down again, because the tight budgets of recent years left many companies overdue for upgrades to their on-premises servers and storage systems.

IDC expects spending on PCs and desktops to follow the same trajectory. "We're definitely going into a little bit of a resurgence in PC shipments that will be a temporary thing and then die off by this time next year," Minton says.

Investments in on-premises software will also cool off: 15% of the Forecast survey respondents said they expected cuts in spending on ERP and CRM systems, individual point applications, Web services and service-oriented architecture, open-source tools, operating systems, e-business software and content management tools.

There was a tie for fifth place on the list of the areas most commonly earmarked for cuts next year: 14% of the respondents said their organizations would dial back spending on unified communications technologies, such as email, instant messaging, telephony and videoconferencing, and another 14% said they foresee a decline in expenditures on storage, including network-attached storage and storage-area networks.


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