Bigger budgets, better tech: Why 2015 is a good year to be working in IT

CIOs are feeling optimistic about their prospects and budgets are on the up.

CIOs are feeling optimistic about the prospects for the IT department in 2015.

One major factor is that budgets are on the up: according to analysts Gartner, worldwide IT spending will nudge up by 2.4 percent this year to $3.8tr: spending on enterprise software is likely to see the biggest rise (5.5 percent), followed by outgoings for devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, and then IT services.

Datacentre and telecoms spending is likely to be slower.

And data from our own Tech Pro Research suggests that CIOs should have more cash to play with this year. More than 80 percent of respondents to the survey indicated that the IT budget in 2015 is as much, or more than, the previous year. Nearly half -- 45 percent -- report that the 2015 budget is slightly or significantly higher than last year, with improving efficiency and business processes a top priority.

And when asked 'Will 2015 be a better year for the IT department than 2014?' members of the exclusive TechRepublic CIO Jury agreed this year would be a good one for the IT organisation - by a margin of ten to two, pointing to improving relations with other departments, new technology and a better general economic climate as some of the key factors.

Matt Mielke, director of IT at Innovations Federal Credit Union, said: "I suspect this year will be a good year for IT. I think the silos between marketing, operations, and IT can and will be eliminated. Technology development and improvement is the most important initiative we have this year."

And Jerry Justice, IT director at SS&G Financial Services, said he was optimistic about the state of technology as the ability "to leverage cloud and hybrid services continues to evolve". He added: "Security monitoring tools are getting smarter. Well, every device is getting smarter (IoT)."

Alan Bawden, operations and IT director at The JM Group, said: "Already budgets are being freed up and businesses are preparing themselves for an improvement in the economy. The savvy businesses are positioning themselves digitally to take advantage of improved market confidence."

Jeff Focke, director of IT at Shealy Electrical Wholesalers, also expected good things of 2015: "Our market is stable and poised for steady growth in 2015, so is continuing to expand and grow both business and IT wise."

Keith Golden, CIO of Econolite Group, said he was cautiously optimistic for the year ahead: "The economy is warming up and initiatives that had been stalled are once again moving forward. But I don't see a return to pre-great recession conditions either."

Not were all executives were so upbeat about their business sector: as Tim Stiles, CIO at the Bremerton Housing Authority, noted: "Dollars in the public sector continue to be very tight," while Derrick Wood, CIO at energy services company Wood Group, noted that in the oil and gas sector "the dramatic drop in oil prices is forcing all 'overhead' functions to severely look at their cost base for short-term (12 to 24 month) savings."

Others were positive about the future thanks to projects they had either finished or that were near completion.

Shawn Beighle, CIO at International Republican Institute, said: "In 2014, we migrated our email provider, switched to Office 365 from Office 2010, changed MSPs and moved headquarters to mention a few of our major projects. Nothing like that is on the horizon for 2015, thankfully."

Meanwhile John Gracyalny, VP of IT at SafeAmerica Credit Union, said: "We go live with our new core system on March 1. It is the newest system in the market, built with all the latest tools. It replaces a system we've had since the early 80s."

This week's CIO Jury is

  • Alan Bawden, operations and IT director at The JM Group
  • Shawn Beighle, CIO, International Republican Institute
  • Richard Frisch, CTO, Global Strategy Group
  • John Gracyalny, VP of IT, SafeAmerica Credit Union
  • Jeff Focke, director of IT, Shealy Electrical Wholesalers
  • Derrick Wood, CIO, Wood Group
  • Richard Storey, head of IT at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
  • Delano A. Gordon, CIO, Roofing Supply Group
  • Tim Stiles, CIO at the Bremerton Housing Authority
  • Jerry Justice, IT director with SS&G Financial Services
  • Matt Mielke, director of IT at Innovations Federal Credit Union.
  • Keith Golden, CIO, Econolite Group

Want to be part of TechRepublic's CIO Jury and have your say on the hot issues for IT decision-makers? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company, working in the private sector or in government, and you want to join TechRepublic's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should, then get in contact. Either click the Contact link below or email me, steve dot ranger at techrepublic dot com, and send your name, title, company, location, and email address.

Further reading on CIOs and budgets

By Steve Ranger

Steve Ranger is the UK editor-in-chief of ZDNet and TechRepublic. An award-winning journalist, Steve writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture, and regularly appears on TV and radio discussing tech issues. Previously he was th...