2009 IT budgets and spending: a snapshot

How readers are divvying up their IT dollars and dealing with the economic downturn

We recently surveyed IT professionals with budget and spending authority about how 2009 looked to them. We found bad news, but some good stuff, too ...

Although nearly a third of the IT professionals surveyed said they will maintain spending at 2008 rates, the bulk of those that are changing their spending plans are ratcheting costs down.

Of those IT pros who say they are cutting back their IT budgets, 43% are slicing 5% to 9% while a whopping 40% are slicing 10% or more.

Of the IT pros who said they would increase their budgets, more than a third said they upped their 2009 budgets by 10% or more, while another 41% said their increases fell at 5% to 9%.

Only a handful of respondents gave a thumb's up to IT budget resources for 2009. Most find their budgets lacking relative to organizational needs.

The bulk of respondents spend up to 8% of their revenue on IT, which is in keeping with conventional wisdom (retailers, for example typically spend 1% or less, while financial service firms are at the other end of the spectrum).

Sliced another way, 80% of respondents have allocated less than 10% of corporate revenue to IT spending.

When asked to compare the 2009 ratio to 2008 spending, the bulk - 84% - said the the percentage of revenue allocated to IT will stay the same or shrink this year.

No surprises here - survey respondents said more of their IT dollars goes toward operations, at 58%, than capital equipment.

Slightly more than half of respondents agreed that spending IT dollars on improving process improvements in 2009 would help offset the impact of the economic slump at their companies.

Survey respondents showed no strong consensus about how to use their IT budgets. Some will forego major investments in favor of spending on a variety of smaller projects aimed at getting more out of what they've already deployed. Others see spending in the opposite way - earmarking funds for one or two major IT projects aimed at core business improvements rather than spreading the dollars across multiple smaller projects. Meantime, a quarter of respondents are up in the air on how to spend their IT dollars.

Going green is undeniably a hot topic in IT. And while many IT managers are addressing the issue, almost half of those surveyed don't have the onus of energy costs on them.

Among respondents allocating IT dollars to energy costs, more than one-third said those costs account for 5% or less of their budgets. However, almost the same number is spending between 11% and 20% of their budgets on energy costs.

Participate in this poll and let us know whether you are feeling the affects of changes to IT budgeting and spending.