The CIO Jury is a regular feature on TechRepublic, but this is a special edition running on ZDNet as part of our package on 2018 IT budgets.
IT budgets can radically shift from year to year, depending on a company's profits and priorities, and economic uncertainty.
In 2017, IT budgets were expected to stay flat, despite increases in company profits, according to a SpiceWorks report. But in the end, the majority of IT budgets increased in 2017 over 2016, according to a Tech Pro Research survey. Some 61 percent of respondents said their company's budget would increase, with the majority reporting that the increase would be between 1 percent and 10 percent.
The top budget priorities were improving efficiency and business processes, achieving network security, and increasing productivity through technology, the survey found. The top initiatives planned for 2017 were improving security, enhancing applications to better fit business processes, and improving the availability and performance of network infrastructure.
Spending on these priorities and others seems to still be top of mind for tech leaders. We surveyed the TechRepublic CIO Jury panel about their budget plans, and when asked: "Is your IT budget staying the same or increasing in 2018?" 10 tech leaders said yes, while two said no.
SEE: Year-round IT budget template (Tech Pro Research)
Dustin Bolander, CIO of Technology Pointe, said his company's IT budget will increase, as "companies are leveraging technology for more and more -- sales, manufacturing, legal workflows, engineering teams."
Meanwhile, at Payette, "budget total is remaining about the same, but I am seeing a shift in hardware budget reduction and software budget increasing," said Dan Gallivan, director of information technology. "The proportions are shifting due to increasing use of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) thus reducing reliance on hardware. I expect this proportion shift to grow as we adopt more hybrid cloud solutions."
Some companies are expanding significantly. For example, PhoenixNAP Global IT Services will increase its tech budget about 15 percent next year. "As a growing global IT company, our tech budget will increase in 2018 accordingly," said president Ian McClarty, who was not included in the jury. Bradley Shaw, CIO of SEO Expert Brad Inc., said his tech budget will expand by more than 10 percent next year.
Other IT leaders cite the importance of staying on the cutting edge as a reason to spend more on tech in the coming year. "As a tech company, it is important that our customers have the latest and greatest in tech, and as our customer base grows, we want to continue listening to them and their business demands, so we can be the most progressive and forward-thinking in the industry," said Mike Sharp, CIO/CPO of Jive Communications.
However, not every organization was increasing. "Our needs, services, and requirements increased, but the budget was cut," said Shane Milam, executive director of technology infrastructure services at Mercer University. Despite record student enrolment, overall budgets, and new programs, the IT budget will still be reduced between 5 percent and 7 percent, Milam said.
"Ultimately, things have to balance, and we are not a technology company, only technology dependent," Milam added. "Sometimes you have to sacrifice and dig for further efficiency improvements. Things will get better."
This month's CIO Jury included:
- Mike S. Ferris, global IT director of infrastructure, Lincoln
- Inder Davalur, group CIO, KIMS Hospitals Private Limited
- Michael R. Belote, CTO, Mercer University
- Simon Johns, IT director, Sheppard Robson Architects LLP
- Jeff Kopp, technology coordinator, Christ the King Catholic School
- Dustin Bolander, CIO, Technology Pointe
- Dan Gallivan, director of information technology, Payette
- Gene Richardson, COO, Experts Exchange
- Shane Milam, executive director of technology infrastructure services, Mercer University
- Mike Sharp, CIO/CPO, Jive Communications
- Bradley Shaw, CIO, SEO Expert Brad Inc.
- Mark O'Brien, CTO, Kurado
Want to be part of TechRepublic's CIO Jury and have your say on the top issues for IT decision makers? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director, or equivalent at a large or small company, working in the private sector or in government, and you want to join TechRepublic's CIO Jury pool, click the Contact link below or email alison dot denisco at cbsinteractive dot com, and send your name, title, company, location, and email address.
- IT budgeting: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- Tech budgets 2017: A CXO's Guide (ZDNet)
- How to economize the rate of IT spend: Five financial strategies (Tech Pro Research)
- Why companies spend 3X on tech than they did a decade ago: Attract talent (TechRepublic)
- New User IT Budget Policy (Tech Pro Research)