IT bosses face another year of belt-tightening with many predicting budgets will remain flat at best but are more likely to be cut.
The straw-poll of silicon.com's 12-person CIO Jury IT user panel shows budgets remain squeezed as two-thirds anticipate they will be given no extra money in 2006 and just a third look forward to an increase in resources.
This is despite analyst group Gartner's research this week pointing to an increase of between 10 per cent and 15 per cent in IT budgets next year, up from five per cent last year.
Nowhere is the squeeze more acutely felt than in the public sector. Chris Robinson, CIO at Staffordshire County Council, said: "With the Gershon efficiency agenda we will have a cut of five per cent."
Paul Broome, IT director at 192.com, said: "It's time to consolidate on 2005 purchasing and making everyone realise you cannot always buy yourself better productivity."
This view was backed up by Nick Clark, director of IT services at Tower Hamlets College. He said: "Equally I don't think there will be a major cut. We are consolidating having invested in new systems over the past couple of years. Of course with more kit and software the maintenance cost goes up but this can be mostly offset against the reducing hardware cost for replacements."
Even those predicting an increase in capital expenditure next year point to further penny-pinching on operational expenditure and 'keeping the lights on'.
Stephen Hand, group IT director at Lloyds Register, said: "In total I expect IT budgets to rise but principally in the area of investment projects producing revenue growth, not in IT operations spend which will continue to fall."
The CIO Jury poll is backed up by silicon.com's second annual CIO Agenda survey, which looks at IT budgets, technology trends and career issues for CIOs. The first piece reveals what is on the CIO shopping list in 2006 and the full results will be published over the next few days.
Today's CIO Jury was...
Paul Broome, IT director, 192.com
Linda Chandler, IT director, London Development Agency
Nick Clark, director of IT services, Tower Hamlets College
Michael Elliot, IT director, Hasbro
Chris Ford, director of IS, Severn Trent Water
Paul Haley, head of IS, The British Library
Stephen Hand, group IT director, Lloyds Register
John Keeling, director of computer services, John Lewis Partnership
Mark Lichtenhein, director of IT and new media, PGA European Tour
Peter Pedersen, CTO, Blue Square
Andy Pepper, director of business IS, Tetley
Chris Robinson, CIO, Staffordshire County Council
If you are a CIO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at email@example.com