IT spending continues to inch upward, according to a recent Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) survey of more than 870 IT decision-makers at large North American companies. CIOs’ rising optimism about their business climate will translate into a 2.4 percent spending increase in 2004, up from the 1.7 percent originally projected six months ago.

The survey found that business services, such as consulting, transportation, and construction, and finance and insurance firms lead other industries in year-over-year IT spending increases, with a rise in 2004 budgets of roughly four percentage points. IT organizations are using their budgets to get back to basics in 2004, with plans to upgrade core technologies like security, applications, and PCs. Their new dollars will also focus on customer information technologies, security, and mobile networking. Other IT adoption highlights include the following:

  • While most IT decision-makers feel that business users are at least somewhat satisfied with the accessibility and quality of customer data, spending on customer information continues to climb. Portals will see the greatest growth in deployments (61 percent), followed by content management (56 percent), and business intelligence software (48 percent).
  • Enterprises are continuing to build a foundation for mobility — 82 percent of firms have VPN deployments in production, and 54 percent have completed deployments of personal firewalls. More than half the respondents plan to increase deployments of these technologies, with 60 percent of firms planning to increase their implementations of wireless LANs during the next 12 months.
  • Regulatory concerns, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, are propping up spending on enterprise applications, with 30 percent of firms increasing spending on ERP to support compliance. However, adoption of other enterprise applications, such as procurement, supply chain management, and CRM software, has leveled off.
  • In 2003, 41 percent of firms had EAI implementations completed or underway. This year, 51 percent plan to extend their deployments of integration server software, with an almost even split on development environments — 56 percent prefer Microsoft’s .NET, and 44 percent prefer J2EE.
  • Manufacturing and retail and wholesale companies lead the 31 percent of respondents that plan to increase their deployments of RFID during the next 12 months. These firms are also 1.5 times more likely to increase their deployments of business intelligence solutions.
  • Enterprises and SMBs have similar plans for upgrading and replacing PCs this year — 38 percent of enterprise firms plan to replace more than one-fourth of their PCs. Dell is also the preferred vendor for this class of firms.

To learn more about Forrester’s Business Technographics® March 2004 North American Benchmark Study, please read “The State Of Technology Adoption” and “IT Execs Raise Their 2004 Budget Outlook.” These documents and the “CIO Confidence Poll: Q1 2004” are available to WholeView 2TM clients and can be found at