Is the belt-tightening and relentless cost-cutting over?
IT budgets are set to increase in 2007 on the back of technology refreshes and mobile working projects, according to UK CIOs.
Three-quarters of silicon.com's 12-man CIO Jury IT user panel this week said they expect their IT budgets to increase in 2007. That's a more optimistic picture than this time last year when CIOs were forecasting a cash-strapped 12 months of belt-tightening and cost-cutting.
Financial services is one industry where tech spend is rising. Graham Yellowley, director of technology at investment bank Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International, said: "The general trend in the last few years has seen an increase in IT investment and 2007 will be no exception."
That view is backed by Neil Bath, IT director at Brewin Dolphin Securities. "In order to provide a resilient service in a growing market, we have to continue to invest and therefore spend more, even though we can negotiate reductions in a number of areas," he said.
David Supple, director of IT and creative services at Ecotec, said: "A focus on knowledge management and making IT more accessible for mobile workers for 2007 reflects a continued shift to get in front of the client and build on those face-to-face client relationships."
But Andy Pepper, director of business information systems at Tetley, cautioned against a new wave of optimism in the tech sector. He said: "In real terms we will be spending slightly more but this is more to do with replacement cycles and process improvement initiatives than confidence in IT or the economic climate."
And there are still many organisations where IT investment is either flat or declining still. Mark Saysell, IT director at Coutts Retail Communications UK, said: "In an ever increasing competitive market the IT budget like every other part of the business is under increasing focus to deliver more for less. If we did need some additional capital expenditure I'd need to show some solid figures and clear benefits for the company in order for it to be approved."
Mark Dearnley, CIO at Cable & Wireless, added: "I expect to need to deliver more for less."
Today's CIO Jury was...
Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
Les Boggia, IT division head, Carole Nash
Neil Bath, IT director, Brewin Dolphin Securities
Mark Dearnley, CIO, Cable & Wireless
James Findlay, head of ICT, Maritime & Coastguard Agency
Chris Ford, IT director, Severn Trent Water
Paul Haley, IT director, University of Aberdeen
Andy Pepper, director of business information systems at Tetley
Mark Saysell, IT director at Coutts Retail Communications UK
David Supple, director of IT and creative services, Ecotec
Rob Wharton, CIO, Colt Telecoms
Graham Yellowley, director of technology, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International
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