Gartner predicts that business units will gain control over a majority of discretionary spending on technology this year. If that happens, it could force IT departments to meet project milestones set by business managers before they get funding to pay for additional work.

Some attendees at Gartner’s recent Symposium/ITxpo 2003 conference in San Diego said they don’t expect that scenario to play out in their organizations, while others said they have already seen the trend emerge – and it has been to their advantage thus far.

“I’m already seeing some of that occur in our organization, and it’s helpful,” said Craig Betts, director of enterprise resource planning at Sierra Pacific Resources in Reno.

Although Sierra has shifted control of IT spending only to a few business units, Betts said the change has helped his company’s IT dept. by giving business managers responsibility for planning and overseeing IT project requirements.