Revenue may be increasing, but IT budgets remain flat.
Now that Back to the Future Day has made us feel uber-futuristic, let’s have a look at the latest report from Spiceworks. The study of 800+ worldwide IT pros, which we started covering last year, explores budgetary concerns, technology trends, and the general state of the IT industry as we head into a new year.
First and most importantly, IT budgets are barely budging. CIOs’ global planned spending is expected to increase by only about $2,000 year over year, and North American IT departments will get more money than their EMEA counterparts. Along those same lines, 60 percent of IT professionals are not planning to hire additional staff in 2016.
According to the research, more than half of respondents expect company revenue to continue increasing in 2016. Nevertheless, IT is not considered a strategic imperative, and senior leaders are determined to keep costs low until something major breaks.
Where the Money Goes
IT leaders’ top priorities are hardware and software, though spending for hosted/cloud-based and managed service projects is slated to increase slightly over 2015. Also, despite the fact that Windows 10 is a free upgrade for most, IT pros still plan to spend some money on hardware as part of their OS rollout.
Some speculate about a world without desktops, but they aren’t going away anytime soon. IT pros may predict that desktops will eventually be replaced by mobile devices, but nearly a quarter of all hardware spending is still allocated to them.
IT is driven to purchase new technology mostly by EOL and company growth requirements. New features are the least compelling, with only a quarter of IT pros citing these as drivers for new tech purchases. If a system is working well, IT will usually not move to replace it.
What Keeps Them Awake?
Security and OSes top the list of troublesome issues. Only half of surveyed IT pros believe their organization’s data is adequately protected and consider IT security a top priority for 2016.
About three-quarters of respondents consider their organizations at risk for technology, IT security, and manmade disasters or incidents. Yet IT spend on security hardware, software, and services will remain flat year over year with IT professionals planning to allocate only 6 percent of their total budget to security.
Per the survey, many organizations aren’t conducting regular security audits or updating security practices to help protect against worldwide increase in security breaches, so there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to securing IT environments.
Spiceworks’ respondents report that Microsoft Windows 7 is still the most adopted OS, followed by Windows XP, which does not have a great reputation when it comes to security. Of the most popular OSes, Windows 8 has the lowest penetration rate. Even Microsoft Windows Server 2003, which had its end-of-service in April 2015, is still present in 60 percent of companies.
IT pros say their top OS initiatives for 2016 are upgrading to Windows 10 and migrating from Windows Server 2003. In addition, surveyed IT pros who’ve allocated budget to OS upgrades expect to upgrade older hardware during these OS projects.
More than three-quarters of survey respondents currently use server virtualization—significantly more than those supporting mobility and BYOD. But only a third is using advanced solutions despite increased security attacks.
Predicted Growth in 2016 and Beyond
Areas of high growth include advanced security solutions (top billing), application virtualization/hosted shared desktop, VDI, and various shapes of cloud such as SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS.
In short, IT can’t spend big right now despite accelerating business requirements. Therefore, departments need ways to spend smart, leveraging techniques like citizen development to conserve IT staff time and money.