As organisations face a challenging economic environment, IT spending budgets will be essentially flat with a planned increase of just 0,16% in 2009.
A worldwide survey of 1,527 CIOs was conducted by Gartner Executive Programs (EXP) from 15 September to 15 December 2008 and represents CIO budget plans reported at that time.
Flat IT budgets were found across organisations in North America and Europe, with slight increases in Latin America and a slight decrease in Asia/Pacific.
"In 2009, executives face challenging global economic conditions that have not existed for more than 50 years," says Mark McDonald, group vice-president and head of research for Gartner EXP. "This environment is reflected in IT budgets, priorities and strategies as one third of CIOs reported no change in their budget from 2008, while 46% reported a slight increase, and 21% reported a cut in IT budgets.
"All CIOs will face the need to restructure their budgets, cutting in some areas and investing in others, including those reporting no change in their overall spending level," he says. "Organisations expect IT to contribute results in an uncertain economy. CIOs need to be decisive and resourceful in building an effective organisation that can meet current and future challenges.
"Leading organisations recognise the seriousness of economic conditions, but they are not paralysed by them. Their leaders have confidence in their ability to use IT to achieve results."
Senior business executives recognise that IT's contribution to economic performance extends beyond managing expenditures. They expect IT to play a role in reducing enterprise costs, not merely with cost cutting but by changing business processes, workforce practices and information use.
The business priority "improving business processes" has been the top business expectation of IT since its introduction to the CIO Agenda survey in 2005. In 2009, more than 57% of CIOs reported this as one of their top five business expectations.
"It's time for CIOs to develop business process improvement capabilities as part of the core of IT," says McDonald. "This will enable them to respond to executive expectations that see business processes as important to business performance, as closely associated with application systems and as a responsibility of the CIO and IT."
CIOs continue to invest in technologies beyond the infrastructure core. However, the focus of these investments has shifted from planting emerging technologies to harvesting business investments.
Meeting the challenges of 2009 requires CIOs to lead their organisations and enterprises through decisions that have no simple answers. CIOs need to lead and have the foresight to look at IT in new ways.
"These imperatives form the basis for the CIO agenda and its focus on making the organisation more effective," says McDonald. "Every CIO will start at a different place, facing unique challenges and setting his or her own agenda to marshal the resources needed to make the right decisions and deliver results across the organisation."