IT leaders must invest in future-focused technology to drive business success, but do it all with an eye on the budget.
Are you ready for IT budget season? That's the time of year when IT leaders need to make their case for business investment in the technology that will provide their organizations with the competitive edge to succeed in 2019 and beyond.
Budget time has been a struggle for IT organizations in recent years as they try to pay for maintaining existing systems, meet new challenges such as growing cybersecurity threats, and invest in digital transformation for the future.
The divide between the budget you have and what you need to accomplish with that budget has grown more pronounced in 2018, according to a new survey of IT professionals conducted by technology systems integrator and reseller Insight and compiled into the company's annual Insight Intelligent Technology Index.
Monitoring budgets and costs is a top technology concern for 52% of survey respondents and 44% of IT influencers identify overall cost increases in infrastructure as their top concern as they evaluate the potential of cloud computing, according to the Insight report.
Insight's report found that 2018 IT budgets at big companies are expected to increase by 19% on average, much lower than last year's 27% increase.
And yet the raft of concerns and initiatives that IT must tackle with that budget has grown in scale and importance. For instance, the top concern of IT professionals is security. Overall, 51% of IT pros identified security as an area where spending needs to increase -- and 66% of pros in large companies said that spending for security needs to be increased.
Meanwhile, end user support and enablement ranked down at the bottom of the list of where technology spend budget needs to grow. Overall, just 29% of companies said spending needed to increase here. Interestingly, large companies saw more of a need to increase spending in this category at 39%.
At the same time, the Insight report found that other organizations within the enterprise are having more of an influence over IT budgets.
"As the question of asset allocation is becoming more urgent and IT takes on a greater strategic role, other segments of the business are more involved in IT decision-making," the report said. "According to IT professionals, finance is the one department outside of IT exerting the most influence over technology decisions."
Insight said that 29% of IT pros in 2018 say finance is exerting the most influence compared to 20% that said finance was exerting the most in 2017.
Getting the job done with limited resources in an era where you also have to invest in technology that provides a competitive edge is one of the challenges of digital transformation. This is the challenge that a few years ago inspired Gartner's bimodal IT model. This model splits IT into two areas, one that maintains the current infrastructure and work and the other that invests and develops for future initiatives. Since then many organizations have favored a different approach, citing many reasonswhy bimodal ITisn't a great fit for the enterprise.
Budget pressure could be starting to ease, however.
According to the Insight report, and this 2018 State of IT report by Spiceworks, there are a number of companies that are keeping their IT budgets steady or increasing them in this year. New hiring is indicated, too, by this report. As the headlines have indicated, labor markets are getting tighter.
So maybe, this time around, organizations will start to get ready to invest in the future rather than cut back.
Check out these stories for more on the right investments for IT leaders:
Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, ... View Full Bio
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