The IT industry is showing signs of stability according to The State of IT, an annual report from Spiceworks, covering tech adoption trends.
The results of the survey were compiled from the answers of 1,100 IT professionals, drawn from the professional networking site’s roughly 5 million users, according to Spiceworks’ content marketing manager, Peter Tsai.
About 60% of respondents in the US and abroad, reported that their companies do not plan to add additional IT staff within the year. Only 4% plan to reduce staff, meaning the majority of companies polled will either stay the same or add staff.
“We view this is a net positive thing,” Tsai said. He also explained that since many of the companies included skew on the smaller side, many of them do not have the budget to hire new employees.
Though these businesses aren’t necessarily bringing on new staff, they are reporting (42%) plans to increase IT budgets. Tsai said that the added budget, for many, will likely go toward the continuing adoption of cloud services.
“When you’re purchasing the use of a cloud service, you’re in effect, outsourcing some of the maintenance that an IT [professional] would do internally,” he said. For a smaller company that may be strapped for both cash and knowledge, cloud services allows them to grow their business without growing their head count.
Nigel Hickey, an infrastructure administrator at National Specialty Alloys, said his budget next year will in part go toward investing in cloud services and virtualization.
“We virtualize now, and I’m hoping to use virtualization as a stepping stone to disaster recovery at a second failover site that either I manage or a software as a service provider manages,” he said.
As far as staffing, he also said he’s like to add a desktop support person, but the job wouldn’t be full time.
“I need another set of hands to do helpdesk and desktop support so I can focus on my higher level projects. I don’t think I can ask management for another 40 hour a week person, but there’s days where I wish I had somebody so I could work on other things,” he said.
Looking broadly, Tsai said there does seem to be a sense of optimism in increase of IT budgets for 2015. He cited a few external sources – Gartner’s projection that worldwide IT spending would hit $3.8 trillion in 2014, up 3.1% from the year before, and data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting growth in the industry through 2020.
Other trends Tsai marked as important included the inverse relationship between the size of a company and the cost of IT support per employee (see chart below), and the slightly higher IT budgets in North America versus Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, possibly due to tendencies toward early adoption and a less concerned attitude toward privacy.