US chief information officers expected their IT budgets to grow by 7.3% during the next 12 months, according to March's CIO Magazine Tech Poll.
The 277 panelists surveyed last month said IT budgets increased by an average of 4.8% over the previous 12 months, slightly higher than the 4.5% increase reported in the February poll.
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"Seventy-two per cent of the CIOs said their spending will increase in the coming year, up significantly from 59% who said so in March 2003," said Gary Beach, group publisher of CIO magazine.
When asked about spending in eight specific IT areas, including computer hardware, data networking equipment, telecommunications equipment, storage and security software, 42% of the panelists said they expected to increase spending, up slightly from February.
The percentage of those planning to cut spending, 13.6%, also remained virtually unchanged from February.
"The three top priorities are computer hardware, security software and storage," Beach said. "The ones that still haven't got a lot of traction in the last six months are the big-ticket software items, e-business applications of infrastructure software. And I don't suspect you'll see movement there until the jobs picture improves significantly."
Security was the strongest sector in the poll, with 55.6% of the respondents planning to increase spending on it, up from 54.7% in February. Just 1.5% planned to cut security spending, down from 2.7%.
Fifty-two per cent planned to boost spending on computer hardware, up from 49.8%; 15.3% planned to cut spending in this area, down from 17.3%.
Each month, CIO surveys a panel of senior executives on existing and future IT spending and other issues. The survey is conducted in partnership with Deutsche Bank Securities and Ed Yardeni, chief investment strategist at Prudential Equity Group.
Linda Rosencrance writes for Computerworld