Can’t spend big? Spend smarter, says Spiceworks

The latest State of IT Report finds that corporate coffers are getting healthier — but IT budgets remain relatively flat, even though areas like cyber-security need funding. Here’s how to understand (and work with) the disconnect.

Share this article:

“I got you a present!” my husband told our son when he got home the other day. “Yay!” the little guy said, excitedly ripping open the shopping bag to find … socks.

The six-year-old was sorely disappointed when what seemed like good news instantly morphed into the disappointment known as socks.

There’s a good news/bad news thing going on in the 2016 Spiceworks State of IT Report, too. The good news? Corporate coffers are getting healthier.

“More than half (56 per cent) of IT pros surveyed expect their company’s annual revenue to continue increasing in 2016,” according to the global survey of 839 IT decision makers.

Before you get your hopes up like a six-year-old, here’s the bad news: IT is not necessarily getting a share of those higher revenues. The bulk of the surveyed IT managers (42 per cent) believe their budgets will stay flat this year.

The study’s authors find this somewhat surprising, especially since cyber-security is one particular area that seems to be crying out for money; nearly 60 per cent of IT pros feel their organization doesn’t adequately invest in IT security.

On top of that, Windows XP — characterized in the report as “a dead OS walking when it comes to security” — is still the second most popular operating system among the polled companies.

What about IT staffing? Sorry to dash those dreams, but no new funds will be going into that area, either. Most IT managers (about 60 per cent) don’t expect their staffing levels to increase in 2016.

“Cue the Wilhelm Scream,” the Spiceworks study cheekily suggests. “This means (tech managers) need to continue making IT work … minus the extra hands.”

Where the heck do companies plan to spend their IT budgets this year? The biggest motivator for new IT spending in 2016 is end of life, cited by 67 per cent of respondents. The desire to acquire brand-spanking-new, cutting-edge technology came in dead last, cited by just 25 per cent.

So necessity, not innovation, is the top priority in IT budgets. It’s not that companies don’t have any money to bump up IT spending; they just don’t think it’s important enough.

“What’s the disconnect?” Spiceworks asks in its report, before offering this explanation: “Management is laser-focused on keeping costs low but doesn’t quite get IT’s importance to the company — until something breaks … This speaks to the motto of many companies: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Faced with another year of flat budgets and flat staffing levels, how can IT managers approach their jobs in 2016? One of the surveyed IT pros shared this idea: “A lot of the time, management’s number one priority is the revenue stream. So I show them why, if the issue isn’t resolved, it will mean a loss of revenue in one way or another.”

As for the Spiceworks researchers, they had this advice: “For IT departments that can’t spend big right now, they’ll need to look for ways to spend smart by identifying clever ways to save money while still meeting business needs.”

In other words, keep on doing what you’ve been doing for a while now.

We all get the need for prudent corporate spending. The global economy is on some shaky ground these days. But in an era when technology is now a crucial component of every single industry in the world, how long can any business afford to keep treating IT like a hopeful six-year-old?

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

Share this article:
Comments are closed.