Spiceworks just released the 2016 edition of its annual State of IT Survey. This is a pretty big survey that polled information from IT professionals from every industry across the planet in 2015. That’s a lot of data to be putting into a single survey, and that’s why the results are worth your time to take in.
There were four key takeaways from Spiceworks’ analyses of their results:
- For a slim majority of respondents, IT budgets were expected to remain flat or even fall.
- Most IT professionals polled believe that their IT staff pools will not increase. However overburdened they may already be, there won’t be relief in the form of new hires…
- For a majority of survey takers, security concerns are becoming bigger, but their security budgets aren’t.
- For 2/3 of respondents, technology end-of-life (EOL) will be the major driver of IT investment in 2016.
Now that we’ve gotten an overview of the takeaways, let’s take a deeper look at what they could mean to you, shall we?
Flat or dipping IT budgets
Breaking the numbers down further, we see that only 42% expect their budget to stay flat, and 10% expect their budget to drop. Oddly enough, this essential pattern of relative flatness in budgets will occur in spite of rising average annual company revenue. So what does this mean, exactly?
Well, it’s a good sign that many respondents work in organizations that don’t really understand the value of IT. Their companies probably have a hard time connecting the dots between their IT investments and the actual hard dollar return.
It’s clearly not everyone though; 38% of respondents actually expect their IT budgets to rise. This is a minority of survey takers, but it’s still a fairly good-sized minority. The State of IT report doesn’t actually probe deeply enough for us to discern whether expected budget increases are due to non-IT executives buying in to the value of IT or simply to company policies that push growth every year. That’s something worth investigating.
Now, if you find yourself among those whose budgets are expected to stay flat or even fall, you might want to seek out peers whose budgets are expected to rise so that you can figure out what they’re doing right. If you can’t find anyone to share their tips with you, then you might want to check out our blog on how to sell the vision of IT to non-IT execs. After all, it’s a pretty good bet that lack of understanding is the key problem.
You might also consider using technology management solutions that come with their own ROI report tool that unambiguously calculate and display the full return of the investment in hard dollars and time saved (just a thought...).
Static staff pool sizes
Given the first major finding above, it’s no surprise that the majority of IT professionals polled don’t expect their IT staff to increase in 2016. They’re already overworked, which means they’ll need to keep doing more with less in the coming year.
What to do?
Well, it might be time to consider getting managed services to lessen the work burden. Here’s the thing: Every extra function you outsource means that much more extra time for your staff to focus on the really important things with their full attention. Now, how do you get around the budgetary crunch long enough to afford the managed services? Well, I’ll come to that in the “End-of-life” section below (so don’t stop reading yet).
Major security concerns
Nearly 60% of those polled say that their companies don’t spend enough on security. This is very problematic because, well, the number of security attacks and breaches are rising. Not to put too fine a point to it, but this is one area where being thrifty is a bad idea. If this describes your organization, then you’re going to have to convince the higher-ups to spend more.
That takes time though, so, here are some things you can do right away to tighten up security:
- Review your company’s security policies to identify trouble spots right now
- Make sure you have good password policies
- See what the government’s Privacy Commissioners have to say and follow their advice
- Take stock of what you have in your IT inventory and really figure out who’s using your IT assets (and why).
End-of-life as IT purchase driver
Technology end-of-life (EOL) is expected to strongly influence investment in 2016 in 67% of cases. Another major finding in the survey is that IT budget allocation will most strongly favour hardware purchases in 2016. Put these two results together, what you get is a picture of companies replacing old machines with new machines.
By contrast, only 13% of budgets are expected to be allocated to managed services and 14% to cloud-based projects.
This is a missed opportunity, in our humble opinion. If most people know that end-of-life is coming, and will drive purchases of expensive new hardware, it’d be worth it to look into getting managed services and cloud-based services instead. Some time ago, we argued that outsourcing traditionally hardware-based services/functions is a good idea. It still is.
The best advantage among these is that the cost of updating hardware (software, and everything else) is offloaded to the provider. That’s one major headache out of your hands.
Final words for now
I hope that’s given you all food for thought. It’s important to keep on top of evolving business IT and the challenges they’ll pose, no matter what you do in your organization. Are you ready to make real improvements in the IT landscape of your company? We're Canada's leading IT and telecom expense management company, talk to us today to become your organization’s agent of change.