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Gartner: CIOs don’t expect IT recovery in 2010

Two things came out of the survey: 2009 was the toughest for IT on record, and CIOs reported that 2010 would be another tough year

CIOs who survived 2009, during which IT budgets dropped by eight per cent on average, don’t expect to see business recover or IT dollars return immediately in 2010. They do, however, intend to makeover IT departments as leaner, more lightweight entities ready to respond to business needs, according to Gartner research released Tuesday.

A survey of 1,600 CIOs worldwide shows that while many speculate economic conditions will recover, 41 per cent of IT leaders globally are planning for “continued business contraction.” Worldwide, 53 per cent expect to see stabilization in 2010, and six per cent expect to see growth.

Among U.S. CIOs polled, 47 per cent expect continued contraction, 23 per cent believe business and budgets will stabilize this year, and 26 per cent see some recovery and some growth. The remaining four per cent in the United States say they will see revenue growth above 2008 levels in 2010, according to Mark McDonald, group vice president and head of research, Gartner Executive Programs.

Gartner’s annual CIO survey, in its 11th year, polled 1,600 CIOs worldwide representing US$120 billion in IT spending between September and December 2009. The goal, McDonald says, is to understand the priorities of IT leaders and the resources available to these CIOs. The message for 2010 was clear: transition. CIOs will use another tough economic year to transition from: recession to recovery and growth; strategic cost-cutting to raising enterprise productivity; and owner-sourced technologies to lightweight social technologies.

“Two things came out of the survey: 2009 was the toughest for IT on record, and CIOs reported that 2010 would be another tough year,” McDonald says. “IT budgets are projected in 2010 to have a modest recovery off of their lows in 2009, but they are not expected to be anywhere near enough to recoup the cuts they took. CIOs recorded final budgets at 8.1 per cent lower than the year before, and 41 per cent reported they took multiple budget cuts during the year.”

While 36 per cent surveyed by Gartner expect IT to move back to pre-recession ways and 14 per cent simply weren’t sure, McDonald says many IT leaders are planning to revamp their departments by way of new technologies and skill sets to help businesses return to growth in 2010 and to streamline IT for future business needs. According to Gartner, this evolution of IT is needed and the recession helped kick CIOs into high gear to enable technology groups to transition to more business-relevant organizations within a company.

“We are seeing leading CIOs making deep structural changes in IT to put it on a completely different trajectory, one that is leaner, lighter weight, more responsive and more business-relevant,” McDonald says.