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Surveys say IT budgets will remain small

Stock markets are strengthening and consumer confidence has increased in recent months. But neither are having much of a positive impact on corporate IT spending plans.

According to Forrester Research, 23% of North American companies have said they planned to reduce their tech spend below the level they had budgeted for this year.

Nearly 70% of the 700 respondents to Forrester's survey indicated they are holding steady on their IT budgets. But the survey results led Forrester to drop its overall 2003 IT spending forecast from the 1.9% average budget increase it projected in December.

In a separate survey by Meta, of the 500 companies surveyed, 30% of companies planned to reduce their budgets and that 41% of the respondents planned to leave their 2003 IT budgets unchanged.

Meta executive vice-president Howard Rubin said the remainder were almost evenly split: 30% planned to cut their budgets, and 29% intended to increase spending.

"At this point, we aren't changing our full-year target," said Richard Fishburn, chief information officer at Corning, maker of optical fibre, cables, photonic technologies and other products.

But Fishburn added that Corning's IT budget called for higher spending in the first half of the year to fund productivity programs, such as the application of ISO 9000 practices at the company's global IT shared services centre.

In addition, Corning consolidated help desk activities at three regional sites earlier this year. As a result, IT spending for the rest of the year will drop off from the first-half level, Fishburn said.

Thomas Hoffman writes for Computerworld


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