A survey shows organizations will spend more on IT next year, but IT pros don't expect those extra dollars will translate into bigger IT departments.
This is the mixed bag of results from a survey released Wednesday by Spiceworks, an IT community platform that provides free IT management tools. The survey showed that 42% of IT professionals expect their budgets to increase in 2015 from this year. The average IT budget this year is $253,000.
At the same time, however, 60% of the 1,100 IT staffers surveyed at a range of companies (big and small) in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa said they expect IT staffing to remain the same.
Hiring prospects look somewhat better at bigger companies, the survey indicated. Overall, only 28% of companies said they plan to do more hiring in the coming year, but 35% of companies with more than 250 employees plan to add staff. And only 4% of all firms plan to reduce IT staff.
IT pros aren't getting much help as they manage their organizations' growing adoption of virtualization, cloud computing, and BYOD. Seventy-four percent of survey respondents said they have adopted virtualization; among companies with 500 or more employees, the adoption rate is a whopping 90%. Sixty-five percent of IT pros in North America are using cloud services.
Meanwhile, 68% of those surveyed said their organizations support BYOD, delivering IT services to workers accessing a network via mobile devices, some of them their own.
The notion of increasing IT budgets but not necessarily increasing IT staff has put pressure on IT personnel, whose work increases as new technology is introduced to the organization.
In the third annual IT Admin Stress Survey, released in May by GFI software, 77% of the 200 US IT administrators polled consider their job stressful, up 12 percentage points from last year. Technology companies may be hiring more workers these days, but they're not always hiring enough IT people to support those new employees, the survey found.
Nonetheless, Peter Tsai, IT content marketing manager for Spiceworks, told us IT staffers are benefitting from a greater recognition by C-level executives of the essential role that IT plays in making the business successful. IT is being thought of less as a cost center and more as an important part of the infrastructure to improve efficiency and to generate new lines of revenue.
That sentiment was expressed by IT pros on Spiceworks' online forums (registration required). "IT can be an asset to the company by helping increase efficiencies, assisting in new ways to generate revenue [and] facilitating goals of the company and departments of the company as a whole," wrote one IT pro, identified as Alex3031. "We aren't just break/fix anymore."
An IT pro with the screen name Justin.Davison wrote: "One of the great challenges of IT is that the better we do our job, the less it looks like we are doing work. If we spend our time avoiding and preventing problems and nothing breaks, users don't see us running around and fixing things."
Robert Mullins has covered the technology industry in Silicon Valley for more than a decade for various publications. He has written about enterprise computing including stories about servers, storage, data center management, network security, virtualization, and cloud computing.