Professional tech network Spiceworks’ looks at IT spending and staffing habits and the trends pros are eager to adopt.

In order to get to the bottom of where IT is now and where the industry is going, Spiceworks recently surveyed over 1100 IT professionals in North America and EMEA. A majority of respondents work for small to medium-sized organizations with between 20-249 employees, although companies of all sizes were included. Industries with the highest representation were manufacturing, IT services, education, and non-profit. Ninety percent of respondents are involved in developing and managing IT budgets, and 37 percent hold the title of network or systems administrator.

IT Spending

Spiceworks learned that IT administrators have large annual budgets (over a quarter million on average) that are growing. Forty-two percent plan to increase budgets over the next year. The respondents’ organizations have an average of 4.2 IT professionals on staff, and 28 percent are adding staff this year (60 percent are staying the same). Compared to other employee costs, IT is exceedingly scalable. The more employees an organization has, the less it spends on IT per employee ($2770 per employee for organizations with fewer than 19 people versus $698 per employee for organizations with more than 500 people).

Cloud and Virtualization Adoption

Once a fluffy buzzword, the cloud is a reality for a majority of the respondents. Whether IT professionals are adopting services for web and email hosting, file sharing, or content filtering, the cloud is helping their departments scale infrastructure and keep costs down. Sixty-one percent of respondents overall have adopted cloud-based applications, and adoption is slightly higher the smaller the organization. In terms of the cloud-based services IT pros are eager to start using this year, online backup and recovery is #1.

Virtualization refers to taking hardware into the cloud, and Spiceworks’ respondents are on board this ship. Seventy-four percent of respondents overall have adopted virtualization, including 90 percent of respondents working in organizations with 500 or more employees. The most commonly employed virtual workloads are in IT services (81 percent), internal IT (77 percent), productivity apps (64 percent), industry-specific apps (62 percent), and business support (60 percent).

Mobile and BYOD Usage

Mobile usage continues to expand across the enterprise. Seventy-four percent of IT pros have adopted smartphones in their organizations, while 63 percent have adopted tablets. Each organization supports an average of 92 individual smartphones and 38 individual tablets. Respondents are committed to adapting their processes for the always-changing mobile environment, though somewhat surprisingly, North America is ahead of EMEA in widespread business usage.

The smaller the organization, the more likely it is to currently support BYOD (bring your own device). Eighty-three percent of organizations with fewer than 19 employees allow BYOD, while 61 percent of organizations with greater than 500 employees support it. Respondents seem to feel better about supporting BYOD smartphones and tablets than laptops.

Although Spiceworks reached some interesting conclusions, I’m not sure we can say they represent the state of IT in general. After all, the sample size was rather small and didn’t include a lot of the multi-national organizations that are really driving IT progress in the enterprise.

If Spiceworks had surveyed larger companies on average, do you think it would have gotten the same spending, adoption, and usage results? And what kinds of IT and business alignment structures or models have been implemented in your organization?