IT managers and directors can look forward to slightly rosier times over the next year, as many UK firms make more money available for technology.
That's a key finding in a survey published by the British Computing Society (BCS) this week, suggesting that years of belt-tightening may be over.
Thirty-seven percent of senior IT professionals interviewed by the BCS said IT budgets are set to rise, versus 39 percent whose budgets will be flat and 20 percent who are expecting a decline.
"There's more optimism than in the last two years in terms of those spending more or as much as before on IT," said David Clarke, BCS chief executive
The disruption caused in the run-up to the year 2000, as companies scrambled to protect themselves from the Millennium Bug, had left many firms unconvinced of the need to invest in new technology, according to the BCS.
"At some companies there was no investment in IT for six months while everyone checked if their systems would cope with the date change. So businesses who had been told there was a constant demand for IT investment found that they didn't experience many problems when they didn't make that investment," said Clarke.
Other firms made hefty investments in new software and hardware in 1999, which left some IT budgets decimated afterwards.
More companies now believe they must invest in IT to get benefit although many still refuse to spend unless the business benefits are clearly spelled out, said Clarke.
"IT departments must recognise that their sole role is to make businesses more effective and efficient... so IT staff must really understand their business and develop the interpersonal skills needed," said Clarke.
The BCS also found that security products were the top priority when it came to new investment, followed by software applications and mobile computing devices.