2012 was a year of stability and cautious IT expenditure, when investment in IT maintenance won out over innovation, and application infrastructure design focused on reliability, availability and security as opposed to cost, according to a recent study by ICT consulting company, Tecala Group.
The survey, conducted among 210 IT professionals regarding their plans for virtualisation, Cloud computing and infrastructure, also showed that it was a year in which virtualisation continued to expand its presence among Australian organisations.
Maintenance was the highest budget priority for four out of five organisations, while a third of companies allocated 80 per cent of their budgets towards maintenance-related activities, leaving 20 per cent for innovation.
A further one in four organisations spent 70 per cent of their budget on maintenance compared to 30 per cent on innovation. Only seven per cent of respondents prioritised innovation over maintenance in their IT budgets.
"The results confirm that when it comes to IT, many organisations were simply treading water in 2012," Tecala Group sales and marketing director, Pieter DeGunst, said.
The desire for IT stability was also apparent in the list of application infrastructure requirements for the year.
About 99 per cent of respondents stated that reliability and availability are key, and seven in ten nominated security and data protection. Reflecting the changeable business environment, two out of five organisations noted that the infrastructure must also deliver flexibility to meet new business needs.
The survey also showed that for many organisations, there is still work required to align business and IT objectives. Two in five admitted that application and hardware philosophies frequently conflict with what the business wants and an additional one in four organisations claimed the philosophies conflict occasionally.
"Their IT strategies and budgets were focused on maintaining current capabilities rather than building for future needs. If allowed to continue for too long, there is a danger that this will only exacerbate the disconnect between between business and IT objectives," DeGunst said.
Within the data centre, one in five organisations expect to virtualise more than 90 per cent of their production servers by the end of 2013. The most compelling drivers for server virtualisation and physical-to-virtual conversion are business continuity and disaster recovery, operational flexibility and agility, high availability and server clustering, and sever consolidation.