More than half of IT departments expect their investment levels to increase over the next year, according to the latest National Computing Centre (NCC) IT spending survey.
It predicts that IT spending will represent 1.8 per cent of turnover by end-user organisations. The average IT spending level is currently £2,925 per end user, marginally lower than the £3,022 reported in 2001.
While 53 per cent of respondents indicated that their IT spending levels had actually increased over the previous year, 37 per cent said that it had decreased. The remainder reported no change.
Some 53 per cent are predicting an increase next year, with 29 per cent expecting spending levels to drop.
Organisations in the health and distribution sectors are predicting the most rapid growth in IT spending next year, with 43 and 45 per cent respectively anticipating a 10 per cent boom in IT spend over the next 12 months.
But, while they expect to ramp up investment in operational items such as IT staff, software, hardware, training and data communications, major new developments with capital spending implications will not grow as quickly.
Meanwhile both health and local government sectors reported a significantly higher emphasis on network and infrastructure, representing approximately one third of total IT investment.
"The high emphasis on investment in network and infrastructure applications by the local government sector is a clear indication of its commitment to electronic service delivery by 2005," said NCC research manager Christine Jack.
"At the same time, the rapid growth in IT spending predicted by the health sector for 2003 is welcome news as it has traditionally been the least likely to invest in IT."
The survey is based on responses from 306 IT user organisations in the UK employing a total of more than 10,000 IT staff and representing a combined IT spend of over £1bn.
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