Gartner: Global IT spending growth stable

Study finds that IT spending has so far been largely unaffected by weakness in the U.S. and global economies and is still projected to grow by 3.3 percent this year

A Gartner study finds that IT spending has so far been largely unaffected, despite the ongoing signs of weakness in the U.S. and global economies.

On a global basis, the projected IT budget growth rate for 2008 is 3.3 percent, unchanged from a previous Gartner survey.

In the U.S., budgets are still growing, at 2.3 percent, but that represents a drop from 3.1 percent in the last study.

Meanwhile, the growth rate in Europe was 3.86 percent and 5.98 percent in Asia-Pacific, Gartner said.

Overall, "rumors of IT budgets' demise, especially in the first quarter, have been greatly exaggerated," said Mark McDonald, group vice president and head of research for Gartner Executive Programs, during a conference call Thursday.

The survey drew responses from 1,011 CIOs between Feb. 12 and Mar. 12, according to Gartner. McDonald noted that respondents were from end-user corporations, not vendors or technology service providers.

Some 62 percent of respondents said their 2008 IT budgets did not change, while 23 percent reported a drop and 15 percent said their budgets grew. On average, declining budgets did so by an average of 10 percent. However, report budget increases were about 15 percent, according to Gartner.

"We believe enterprises and CIOs are being cautious about IT spending, but not wholesale cutting," McDonald said.

"IT budgets have been modest for the past four or five years, and that modesty is paying off, because they're not as rich for targeting," he added.

Gartner also polled respondents on whether they had a spending contingency plan in place. Only 32 percent said they had one for this year.

"The contingency analysis seems to indicate that while CIOs are prepared to weather tougher economic times, the majority don't think they'll have to," McDonald said.

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