Study: CIOs expect budget increases, new PCs

Chief information officers (CIOs) expect their IT budgets to grow for 2003 over 2002, but at slower rates than the ones experienced in the late 1990s, according to the results of a monthly poll conducted by CIO Magazine in the U.S.

The 369 CIOs who responded to the January survey estimated their IT budgets would grow by 5.2 percent in 2003, up from the 4.6 percent growth expected by CIOs in December, CIO Magazine said in a release Monday.

“The most significant result is that CIOs certainly have more money to spend this year than last,” said CXO Group Publisher Gary Beach.

The survey also signaled good news for the depressed PC market. Slightly more than half of the respondents said they are either currently replacing their PC infrastructure or have plans to do so within the next 12 months.

Many companies are still running the PCs they bought during the fat-budget years prior to the dot-com crash and in response to concerns about the Y2K problem, Beach said. That infrastructure is finally beginning to show its age, but so far IT managers have resisted wholesale PC upgrades because of budget concerns and the fact that most applications continue to run smoothly on the older PCs, he said.

Other notable results from the poll:

— Respondents were asked what operating system they thought would become the dominant server OS in five years. Thirty-eight percent chose Microsoft Corp.’s Windows, 21 percent thought Linux would rise to the top, while 22 percent chose Unix as the dominant high-end OS.

— Security software will be the highest spending priority for CIOs in 2003. Fifty-two percent of respondents are planning to increase the amount they spend on security software over the coming year, with 42 percent leaving their spending unchanged. The largest category in which respondents expected to decrease spending was outsourced IT services, with 27 percent of respondents planning to decrease spending. However, 27 percent of respondents plan to increase spending on outsourced services.

— The biggest surprise in the poll, according to Beach, was the result from a question about Web services. Just as Microsoft announced plans to drop .Net from the name of its April release of Windows 2003 Server, 47 percent of respondents said they expect Microsoft’s .Net Web services platform to become the leader among CIOs and independent software vendors. Nineteen percent of respondents chose IBM Corp.’s WebSphere, while only 8 percent thought Sun Microsystems Inc.’s ONE (Open Network Environment) platform would dominate. A healthy chunk of respondents remain undecided about Web services, with 26 percent opting for the “none at this time” option.