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Survey: Bigger IT budgets not forthcoming

Less than half of CIOs surveyed by Credit Suisse First Boston surveyed expect overall IT budget growth next year, but more than half are looking to increase software spending.

Most chief information officers don't expect information technology budgets to grow next year, according to a survey released Tuesday by investment firm Credit Suisse First Boston.

Just 44 percent of CIOs expect overall IT budget growth next year, according to the survey of 100 United States-based CIOs. On a brighter note, 54 percent of CIOs indicated that overall software spending for 2004 would increase year over year, according to the report. For 2003, 49 percent of respondents expect software spending to grow.

In terms of IT spending on consulting and system integration services, the survey suggests a "positive but subdued outlook," CSFB said. Thirty-eight percent of CIOs expect spending for consulting and system integration services to be up next year, while 31 percent expect such spending to be down, and 31 percent expect it to be flat, according to the survey.

CSFB wrote that it "would have expected firms to be slightly more optimistic given the improving outlook for the economy."

The report is the latest to weigh in on what's ahead in IT spending. Although there are signs of overall economic recovery, recent reports on the future of IT spending have been inconsistent.

According to the CSFB survey, security was the dominant spending priority, followed by "disaster recovery/high availability." High-availability technology keeps computer services running, even when individual computers fail.

In applications, both enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) ranked fairly high in terms of priorities, CSFB said.