In 2015, most IT shops across industries can expect a boost for their IT operational budgets, and those gains will be made in additional staff, cloud computing, and enterprise apps including business intelligence, according to a new study released by Computer Economics, a research and advisory organization that provides metrics for IT management.

The 2015 IT outlook is mostly positive, according to Computer Economics, which based the study, "IT Spending and Staffing Outlook for 2015," on a survey of 128 IT organizations worldwide, including 68 IT organizations in North America. The annual study assesses IT spending plans, priorities for IT spending and investment, and plans for hiring, outsourcing, and use of contractors and part-time workers as well as pay raises for IT workers.

While the expected increase in IT operational spending may seem lackluster compared to historical trends, it is steadily rising, and should increase 3 percent at the median in the United States and Canada. This compares to a 2.7 percent in 2014.

“Our annual outlook survey indicates organizations are willing to invest in transformational technologies and are more concerned about improving service levels than reducing costs," John Longwell, VP of research for Computer Economics, said in a prepared statement.

According to the study, organizations expect to increase their IT staff headcount—a trend that carries over from last year. In last year’s study, Computer Economics reported that nearly half of all IT organizations in North America planned to increase the size of the IT workforce, with 49 percent of IT organizations anticipated getting the green light to augment staff headcount in 2014.

This year, in the 2015 study, Computer Economics found that more than half of IT organizations will increase IT staff headcount. In addition, a growing number of survey respondents indicated that they will transition from the use of contractors to hiring more full-time, regular employees. Also, the typical IT worker will receive a 3 percent pay raise, the 2015 study found.

Despite the gains in IT staff, and continuing investments in cloud computing, mobility, enterprise applications, security, and business intelligence—from which organizations will be able to derive transformational value, according to Computer Economics—not everything was upbeat. The study found that IT capital budgets will remain flat, and that capital spending on data center and network infrastructure will remain weak. IT executives will need to grapple with finding resources to maintain existing infrastructure, and that will be an ongoing challenge for many years ahead, according to the firm.

More specific findings on the insurance industry are available in Computer Economics’ comprehensive study, "IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks - 2014/2015," a more in-depth study that provides composite statistics of IT spending and staffing data, a segmentation of the same statistics by organization size, and benchmarks for 23 sectors and subsectors. According to this report, insurance organizations are information-intensive businesses that use IT technology for nearly every aspect of their business. Most of the employees use computers in their daily work, and insurance companies spend more per user on IT than any other subsector in the study, according to Computer Economics.

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