Do winners give more?

Summary:There seems to be a sure-fire way to get more budget resources for your IT department: focus on activities that will drive business growth.

There seems to be a sure-fire way to get more budget resources for your IT department — focus on activities that will drive business growth.

It could be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, but IT teams that focus on cost cutting end up with a smaller budget, while those who provide extra value to the business get more money to spend. Which came first, we wonder — the vision or the budget?

In the ZDNet IT Priorities Survey for 2011, almost a quarter of respondents saw their IT budgets increase by 10 per cent or more over the last year, 10 per cent saw it fall by the same amount, and the vast majority said their budgets were relatively flat.

As you can see this varies a little by company size, but not a great deal. Mid-sized businesses (100-499 seats) are most likely to have seen budget growth: 29 per cent have seen it grow by 10 per cent or more.

(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet Australia)

There's a stronger variation between budget winners (those gaining a 10 per cent or more increase in IT budget) and budget losers (who faced a 10 per cent or more cut) when we look at activities undertaken. For example:

  • "Aligning IT priorities with business growth" was given as a priority (top or major consideration) for 71 per cent of budget winners, compared to 61 per cent of budget losers.
  • "Increasing overall productivity through new technologies" was a priority for 71 per cent of budget winners, but just 56 per cent of budget losers.

So the argument seems to be if you want a bigger budget, have more of an external growth focus. Budget losers tend to be more focused internally, working on processes and information access. It's a lesson for many in how the role of IT is changing: from being an internal supplier of services to being a key part of a company's strategic development. Budget winners help the company grow, pure and simple.

To download a copy of the IT Priorities report for 2011, please click here.

Topics: IT Priorities

About

Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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