Only a lucky few CIOs are likely to see IT budget increases this year, according to silicon.com's exclusive CIO Jury.
Spending on IT has been slashed during the recession, with projects put on ice as companies attempt to make do with what they have or focus on projects with a very fast return on investment.
But market watchers are predicting that some CIOs could see the purse strings being loosened in 2010, with spending on software and services likely to rise first.
Other experts have suggested that spending on IT will start to recover in the second half of this year as the economy stabilises. Last week it was also revealed that CEOs and finance directors expect the recession to end this year - although they predict the real recovery to begin in 2011.
However, it seems silicon.com's CIO Jury are less upbeat about their 2010 IT budgets: when asked whether they expect IT budgets to rise this year, the jury voted 'no' by a margin of eight to four.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO Northern Europe at Sodexo, said: "Even with investments to exploit opportunities caused by the recession the overall effect will be flat or a reduction."
Steve Sankey, service director of information and communications technology at Nottinghamshire County Council, said that like the rest of the county council, IT has been asked to make a 10 per cent budget cut.
"Quite rightly, our organisation's strategy is to redistribute funding to priority frontline services. The downside is that ICT is not viewed as a frontline service, yet is critical for business change which is necessary to deliver the efficiency savings and new ways of working. Catch 22," he said.
Other public sector CIOs are likely to feel the same pain - many will be expected to cut their budgets by between 10 and 20 per cent. For more on the different IT budget prospects in the public and private sector see: IT budgets and a tale of two CIOs.
But other CIOs had a more upbeat take on 2010 budget expectations: Gavin Megnauth, director of operations and group IT at Morgan Hunt, said: "We will be investing heavily in IT as we believe it can allow us to make quantum leaps forward in terms of our ability to grow the business." However, he added: "My perception speaking to peers in industry is that they expect overall static budgets."
Schroders CIO Matthew Oakley noted: "IT budgets remain constrained by corporate cost management agendas (which remain very tight), but are under pressure from significant increase in business demand over 2009. We are seeing signs that a business that held back requirements in 2009 no longer feels that it can continue to do so."
Today's silicon.com CIO Jury was:
- James Findlay, head of ICT, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency
- Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO Northern Europe, Sodexo
- Ben Grinnell, IT director, UK Border Agency
- Adam Gerrard, CIO, Avis Europe
- Steve Gediking, head of IT and facilities, Independent Police Complaints Commission
- John Keeling, CIO, John Lewis
- Gavin Megnauth, director of operations and group IT, Morgan Hunt
- Rob Neil, head of ICT and customer services, Ashford Borough Council
- Matthew Oakley, CIO, Schroders
- Mike Roberts, IT director, The London Clinic
- Steve Sankey, service director of information & communications technology, Nottinghamshire County Council
- Richard Storey, head of IT, Guy's & St Thomas' Hospital
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Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of silicon.com.