infoTECH Feature

October 15, 2015

IT Budget Challenges in the United States Worst on the Planet

On a certain level, it's not a surprise that the United States would have some serious difficulties when it comes to information technology (IT) budgets. It's home of some of the largest corporations on Earth, and a host of small businesses that all face cybersecurity challenges in a rapidly changing environment. But the new report from Axios Systems (News - Alert) suggests that the budgets to meet those challenges won't be growing much in the United States as compared to the rest of the world.

The Axios report noted that just seven percent of organizations in the United States would be hiking IT budgets. That sounds bad, but it gets worse; for the U.K., that number goes up to 38 percent, and the global average is 31 percent. But the reports get worse from there; almost half of respondents in the Axios survey expect to actually lose ground in the IT budget.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the end result is that much of the United States won't be spending more to meet IT threats in an environment where there are more IT threats to meet than ever before. Thus, chief information officers (CIOs) throughout the United States are left with one real proposition: make the IT business cases show better value for the business to help drive spending.

But then, there's another point to consider; the United States' spend may be dropping because it has already reached heights that the rest of the world may not have. The report noted that IT service management (ITSM) maturity is already over level three for almost three out of four organizations—almost 70 percent—of organizations in the United States, and a third consider ITSM maturity to be either a one or a two.

If considered a certain way, a new idea emerges; what if the United States' average spend is dropping because it's already among the highest on Earth, and now companies are scaling back spending to perform more maintenance-related functions? While that may not prove fully accurate—after all, we know there's been plenty of spending on Europay, MasterCard (News - Alert) (News - Alert) and Visa (EMV)-standard point-of-sale (POS) materials to accommodate the change to chip-based credit and debit cards—it's not out of line. Think of it in the same way as the United States' defense budget. By some reports, the United States spent more than the next eight other nations in the top 10 spenders list combined; if the United States cut spending by 10 percent, it would likely still outspend at least the next five spenders. The rest of the world, meanwhile, is spending so much more than it used to because it's becoming more aware of the threat that the United States has been aware of for years.

There's no doubt that the United States is a big, big target when it comes to IT challenges. But by like token, it's also done plenty of spending to protect itself and drive innovation. We hear about data breaches in the news every so often, but when we consider the numbers of firms that don't get hit every day, data breaches hit a relatively small proportion of firms. Still, it's no excuse for apathy, so firms need to protect against such things, regardless of how much is spent. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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