IT budgets will increase slightly this year but the recovery will only bring spending back to 2005 levels, according to a poll of over 1500 chief information officers around the world from Gartner.
The survey of 1586 CIOs in 41 countries and 27 industries reveals IT budgets will essentially be flat in 2010, increasing by a weighted global average of 1.3% in nominal terms, compared with 2009 levels where IT budgets declined 8.1%, effectively wiping out the previous four years of growth.
After a year of brutal cuts, Mark McDonald, head of research, Gartner EXP says the economy is moving from recession to recovery, prompting firms to "transition their strategies from cost-cutting efficiency to value-creating productivity."
Gartner says business expectations are shifting from a focus on cost-based efficiencies, to achieving better results based on enterprise and IT productivity.
These productivity gains will come from collaborative and innovative offerings that take advantage of the new "lighter-weight" services-based and social media technologies.
This claim is supported by the top ranking technology priorities cited by survey respondents - virtualisation, followed by cloud computing and Web 2.0. Other issues high on the agenda are business intelligence, mobile technologies, data management and storage and SOA.
These strategic, "lighter-weight" technologies are of increasing importance to the CIO, providing the cost, capacity and capability gains quickly and without significant upfront expense.
Says McDonald: "These technologies, implemented properly, create the opportunity for IT to change its role and the operational performance of the enterprise. Asymmetric technologies like virtualisation, cloud and Web 2.0 enable companies to get out from under a front-loaded heavy investment model that limits IT's agility and flexibility."
Last week Forrester Research published far more upbeat research, declaring the tech downturn of the past two years as 'unofficially over', with IT spending by business and government set to rebound in 2010, rising 8.1% to more than $1.6 trillion.