IT budgets for the coming year will return to levels last seen in 2005, according to a survey of over 1,500 chief information officers (CIOs) across the world by research firm Gartner.
However, this represents a rise of just 1.3 per cent compared to budgets in 2009. Last year the IT sector faced its toughest year when budgets fell by 8.1 per cent after four years of continued growth.
The figures suggest that the economy is moving out of recession and into recovery, and that businesses are now focusing on creating value from IT investment rather than cost cutting, according to Gartner.
The report also studied the technologies companies are looking to invest in over the coming year, and found that virtualisation and cloud computing ranked as the top two. The previous number one - business intelligence - fell to number five.
Mark McDonald, group vice president and head of research for Gartner, explained that firms are now looking at more lightweight technologies that offer strategic and cost benefits and are easily implemented without upfront costs.
"Technologies like virtualisation and cloud enable companies to get out from under a front-loaded heavy investment model that limits flexibility, and create the opportunity for IT to change its role and the operational performance of the enterprise," he said.
McDonald added that CIOs face a tough job meeting all the expectations now placed on them, but said that 2010 will be a good time to establish the direction in which they will take their departments in the coming years.
"While enterprises will transition at different rates, every CIO faces the need to raise productivity, create new capabilities and use the recovery to drive the fundamentals of the current agenda and the repositioning of IT," he said.
"Although this will not happen overnight, it will start with the decisions and directions established in 2010."
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