Surveys Reveal Changing Technology Priorities

Charlene OHanlon
Taken together, the latest CIO survey from Gartner on IT spending and a separate survey from Avanade on the rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications reveal few surprises about the economy of IT spending in 2009, but they do show a shift in how companies are prioritizing their IT spending.

The Gartner 2010 CIO Survey noted that-surprise!-2009 was a tough year for IT budgets, with an 8.1 percent decline in spending. But with the necessity to do more with less, the Avanade survey shows more companies looking to services-based offerings to achieve the same results at a lower cost.

The coming year will be more of the same, according to the survey, as companies increasingly embrace cloud computing and other low-cost, high-value services-based offerings. The relatively small upfront expense and quick implementation time are two highly attractive features that fit within the parameters of being on-time and under budget-the mantra of all IT spending in this economy.

This change in spending priorities is also prompting a shift in the way companies view IT as a whole. No longer is IT spending on hardware and systems a must-do; it's now a matter of examining the process and determining whether it makes financial and operational sense to keep it in-house or move it to a service.

For companies as a whole, that means shifting the way IT is viewed not as a means to an end, but as a driver of innovation itself. Using more services-based offerings frees up resources to focus on the company's core business, which can drive up productivity exponentially. Using services-based offerings also can enable a company to take the next step and adopt more cutting-edge technologies that can help propel a company's mission further.

For the CTO, using services-based offerings can provide an immediate benefit over building everything themselves: fewer headaches. Outsourcing more means needing to do less, and having fewer systems to manage (as well as the people who run them) can be extremely beneficial in a situation in which resources are stretched paper-thin.

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