Senior information technology professionals expect their departmental budgets and staffing to remain relatively flat in 2016, even as their companies predict average higher revenues. This year’s IT budgeting high-wire act will center on operating system migrations and better protection from security threats.
Those are among the key findings in “Spiceworks 2016 State of IT,” an annual report on IT budgets and tech trends based on surveys of IT pros from 90 countries across the globe. Spiceworks, a professional association for the IT industry, publishes statistics, trends, and opinions on the IT industry. According to the report, and of importance to tech suppliers and marketers, IT pros say they expect to use most of the available dollars on technology end of life (EOL) needs and expansion driven by company growth.
Thus, they expect purchase priorities to be hardware and software, and spending for hosted/cloud-based and managed service projects will increase slightly over 2015. Meanwhile, for the many IT departments with tight coffers, the motto remains: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Leaders tell Spiceworks they’ll keep looking for ways to spend smart to meet business needs.
Flat Budgets, Flat Staffing
More than half (56%) of IT leaders expect their company to have better financial results in 2016, but they predict IT budgets will inch up only slightly. Global planned spending is expected to increase on average by department by about $2,000 year over year.
By region, North American IT pros expect to see a slight lift in their 2016 budgets, with the average per company spend, increasing to about $327,798, up from $303,879 on average in 2015. But IT leaders in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) predict they will have virtually no budget increase next year, with the numbers showing an average per department decrease overall, from $242,040 in 2015 down to $241,372 for this year. Nearly 60% of IT pros surveyed don’t expect staff to increase in 2016, which sets up a classic “do more with less” scenario.
Security Seen as Top Need
Security attacks are rising, but budgets aren’t, leading 59% of IT pros to say their companies don’t invest enough in security.
About three-quarters, (73%) of surveyed IT pros consider their organizations at risk for technology, IT security, and man-made disasters or incidents. Yet IT spending on security hardware, software, and services is expected to remain flat year over year, with IT professionals planning to allocate just 6% of their total budget to security.
Security is definitely on the mind of IT pros, with many IT pros reporting that there is plenty of room for improvement when securing IT environments from a growing list of threats—especially as news of breaches routinely make headlines. Of special concern is that the survey shows many organizations aren’t conducting regular security audits or updating security practices to help protect their technology assets.
Looking into the Crystal Ball
This year’s report concludes with a segment looking into the future—and finds several IT and overall business trends.
IT pros are gearing up for a more threatening future in terms of security incidents and technology breaches, and nearly a quarter say they plan to invest in advanced security in 2016. Overall, security solutions, already considered important to current business practices, are expected to get top billing in the future. This suggests IT leaders are likely to use more of their budgeted resources to ward off potential security threats.
In other trending topics, server virtualization is in use by more than three-quarters of survey respondents—significantly more than those supporting mobility and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device.) But only a third of the respondents report using these types of advanced security solutions.
Survey responses also predicted several future areas of high growth, including application virtualization/hosted shared desktop; virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI); and various cloud-oriented programs such as Software as a Service (SaaS); Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS); and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
So while it’s not all bad news, the Spiceworks report confirms that IT budgets are expected to remain flat—in spite of increasing security threats. And, with only half of the respondents reporting that they feel adequately protected, choosing the right security products and services will be more important than ever. How are the trends reported here represented within your organization—is this on target or off base as it relates to your organization? Does a focus on security rank higher or about the same? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this.