A new poll run by V3 in conjunction with IBM as part of its History of IT project found that for the vast majority of IT leaders and decision makers, 2012 is going to be dominated by cost reductions and doing more with less.
A staggering 97 per cent of respondents to the question, What is the most important IT priority for your company this year?, said that working to "Reduce costs and do more with less" was the primary goal.
By contrast, other options were barely touched, with improving security, funding new IT projects and taking advantage of new technologies like the cloud and social media each scoring just one per cent of the vote.
More than 4,500 readers responded.
While these figures could show that the times are still tight, IBM rejected the suggestion that it meant innovation was being sacrificed.
It said the results show that IT managers are actually in a strong position to help their companies thrive by using innovative, cost-effective technology.
One area IBM highlighted that could help firms gain insight into the business while reducing spend was predictive analytics.
The firm's worldwide leader for industry solutions for predictive analytics, Colin Shearer, told V3 that IBM is often being approached by businesses looking to use information to help them improve their work, often in fields such as marketing or insurance.
"We've seen firms use analytics to target their marketing campaigns far more effectively, reducing the cost of sending out information and ensuring a better chance of a return on their investment with those they do target," he explained.
"In the insurance industry it means firms can use analytics to more accurately assess legitimate claims against fraudulent ones, meaning investigators are only spending time on the cases that really need their attention and genuine customers are more quickly dealt with."
He also said that while the use of predictive analytics may be more common among large organisations, the technology is becoming available to those at the other end of the chain, with several charities and small firms taking advantage of the benefits it can provide.
Shearer added that while on the surface doing more with less and reducing costs may have a negative connotation, it could provide many businesses with a chance to thrive.
"While firms are under huge budget pressures and facing tough competition, but still expected to increase their market share, necessity is the mother of invention and so there are opportunities here for firms to innovative," he said.
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