IT spending continues to inch upward, according to Forrester Research Inc. A recent survey by the Cambridge, Mass.-based research and consulting firm found CIOs' rising optimism about their business climate will translate into a 2.4% spending increase in 2004, up from the 1.7% originally projected six months ago.The survey of more than 870 IT decision-makers at large North American companies also showed 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:

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