Lower IT budgets ahead for many Irish CIOs in 2013 – IDC survey

2 Nov 2012

More Irish large and medium-sized organisations expect to reduce their IT budgets in 2013, compared to those planning to increase technology spending.

That’s according to the industry watcher IDC, in findings from its latest annual Irish IT Trends and Expenditure Survey. The results come from a poll of around 300 Irish CIOs, IT directors and managers, as well as supply-side information provided by technology vendors.

The survey is geared towards large and medium organisations so it’s not absolutely reflective of the entire market. The Irish-specific survey follows IDC’s international findings released in September, which found Irish IT spending levels would be below the European average.

Economic pressure is clearly affecting spending patterns, with Government and public-sector spending particularly adversely affected by the downturn. When those agencies are removed from the survey, the picture is not as negative, said John Gilsenan, research director for IDC in Ireland.

IDC is forecasting that overall IT spending in Ireland will show slight growth next year. That’s because the businesses planning to spend more intend to increase their budgets by a greater amount than the organisations that are cutting back. The financial services sector – which traditionally spends heavily on technology – is among the groups most likely to continue IT investment.

State of economy impact

In the uncertain economic situation, the positive growth prediction comes with a caveat. “At the moment we’re expecting very slight overall growth in the IT market next year, but that’s under review and I would expect the next quarterly forecast from us could be lower than that,” Gilsenan told Siliconrepublic.com.

Virtualisation is by far the No 1 priority for IT budgets, favoured by one in three large and medium-sized organisations. IT security was the next most popular choice for spending – albeit some way back from top spot – followed by cloud, which was grouped with a number of technologies, including mobility and unified communications.

Cloud computing figured prominently among the technology trends and Gilsenan said IDC regularly fields questions about whether it’s real or hyped, and whether many Irish businesses are using it.

Judging from the survey, cloud’s impact in Ireland “certainly seems to be real,” he said. Just under 30pc of those surveyed said they are either making limited or full use of private cloud services and a similar percentage are using public cloud services.

Around one in six firms define themselves as full users of cloud services, where the applications are fully integrated into the organisation’s standard IT business practices, IDC said.

Hardware usage

In terms of user hardware, tablets are tipped to make the most gains next year. Currently around 7pc of employees in the organisations surveyed use these devices and it’s anticipated this number will double in 2013.

The proportion of employees using desktops is expected to fall next year, based on the views of respondents. “Laptop sales are expected to increase slightly but not enough to make up for the fall in desktops,” said Gilsenan.

IDC also asked IT leaders about the barriers to adoption around ‘bring your own device’ [BYOD] schemes. Security was the major barrier cited by respondents, followed by the challenge of developing corporate policies around lifecycle support for the devices – in other words, who is responsible for fixing them if they break.

The company will outline its findings on trends and spending in more detail next week during a free webcast on Wednesday, 7 November at 2pm.

Budget cut image via Shutterstock

Gordon Smith was a contributor to Silicon Republic