IT goes back to the future and revisits 1999's bonanza

Demand for IT is back and Australian technology departments are enjoying a significant increase in activity, spend and headcount.

Interviews with 275 local CIOs revealed unprecedented demand for new applications with IT departments currently buried under the weight of a backlog of requests.

Some respondents to the 2006 State of the CIO Survey are even claiming 2006 is a bit like 1999 before the lean, dark years that followed the dotcom crash.

Compiled by Computerworld's sister publication, CIO magazine, the survey covered a broad range of industries including those with an annual IT spend of more than $5.1 billion.

It found 37 percent of respondents plan to increase headcount over the next 12 months while 59 percent expect no change, a paltry 4 percent will reduce staff.

Innovation is also on the rise with two-thirds of respondents saying that IT should lead the business rather than simply support it.

IT's influence within the enterprise is stronger than ever with the survey showing that more than a third of Australian CIOs report directly to the CEO. Overall, the survey results, which appear in this month's edition of CIO magazine, are surprisingly good and correspond with Forrester Research's forecast, also released this month, which shows IT budgets will rise by more than 5 percent this year.

Forrester's IT budget forecast shows 33 percent of companies anticipate an IT budget increase averaging 5 percent in 2006, with only 18 percent of respondents expecting a reduction in budget. (See story: http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php?id=1440327253)

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