The indicators of a recovery keep mounting. A new survey of senior IT managers (mostly CIOs and IT directors) by recruitment consultant Harvey Nash has found that more companies are increasing rather than cutting their IT budgets this year – the first time this has happened in three years.
At those companies that reported their budgets were increasing, IT spend rose by 18% on average, a much faster pace than anyone could have expected given the stagnant budgets of the previous few years.
“It seems as though the recovery is finally starting to take hold. With budgets increasing and IT recruitment seeing renewed levels of activity, business confidence is returning to the IT industry,” says Simon La Fosse, a director at Harvey Nash.
The survey – dubbed ‘the State of the CIO’- also looked at IT’s profile within business. It found that CIOs still struggle to make their voices heard at the highest levels of the organisation – in fact their levels of influence may even have slipped in recent years.
Only 15% of respondents said they had a place on the board, down 5% on previous years. And while 77% of CIOs believe they should report to the chief executive, only 49% actually do.
This shows that CIOs need to address larger, strategic issues within organisations, says La Fosse, if they are to be considered equal with board members.
“This year’s results show the presence of something that has been notably lacking in recent years – optimism,” he says.
“The survey shows that from a CIO’s perspective, focus is shifting towards the next big thing, indicating that the swing from cost containment to innovation has started,” says La Fosse.
“With this new-found optimism, the CIO role will be critical in justifying and implementing new projects. The need for a sound IT strategy and strong relationships with the board is more important now than it has been for many years.”