Forecast 2014

Forecast 2014: How to wring value from your IT budget

Hosted services will reign in 2014, but IT leaders will be challenged to accomplish everything while still containing costs.

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Rounding out the top five technology purchases for 2014 are virtualization of desktops, servers, storage, networks and mobile systems, and security technologies, such as access control, intrusion prevention, malware protection and identity management tools.

While Computerworld survey takers say they will spend less on storage in 2014, Gartner predicts that storage sales will actually increase with the explosion of mobile data, big data and new types of digital files. Although the price of storage is coming down, Lovelock says, spending on storage is going up.

"Storage has one of the highest growths we're seeing across the board, at 7% growth," Lovelock says. "You can say it's just about big data, but the fact is there is a lot of data collection and duplication going on." In the healthcare industry, for example, new digital radiology and digital pathology technologies both generate data that require additional storage.

Yet the best-laid plans can always be ruined. While companies would like to firm up their 2014 budgets, there are a number of political and economic issues yet to play out this year that could impact next year's spending plans, says Forrester's Bartels.

For starters, if Congress delays raising the federal debt ceiling, "that could take a lot of wind out of sails in 2014. We're not predicting that, but we can't rule it out," he says.

There are also lingering concerns about the European economy and worries that China's economic slowdown may continue. "Those are things we [at Forrester] worry about," Bartels says. "But if cooler and wiser heads can deal with it, they won't happen."

In the meantime, IT leaders must plan for the unexpected. That's what Havener does at Texas Multicore. "I maintain a 20% to 25% discretionary pool to deal with those issues that will come up," he says. "[It's] great if you've got that luxury."

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Collett is a Computerworld contributing writer. You can contact her at stcollett@comcast.net.

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