If 2004 was the year for CIOs to be a disciplined cost managers, 2005 will be the year to spend some of those hard-earned savings.
ICT spending by organizations in the Asia-Pacific region will top $40.6 billion in 2005, according to Gartner, with VoIP, wireless and security dominating the CIO agenda.
Gartner chief of research John Roberts said local spending will grow at about 4 per cent with CIOs continuing to do more with less.
The dotcom dip is over and CIOs are finally enjoying greater credibility in the enterprise, according to Shepparton City Council CIO Rob Apostle.
This year Apostle will tackle a hardware refresh that may or may not tie in with Microsoft's Longhorn release.
He is looking forward to enjoying the benefits of a VoIP rollout in 2004 which will be integrated into the company's CRM package providing call centre staff with a pop-up screen featuring customer history.
He intends to duly ignore anything to do with remote access because of the security threats associated with mobility.
"We have 600 staff on our books and have completely shied away from mobility-related initiatives simply because of the security concerns," Apostle said.
"We found lots of holes that could be exploited with mobile devices, even if we put in the biggest, strongest firewall and other appliances once you get passed it you have free reign of the network."
Scott Esler, IT manager for the Bob Jane Group, said forget taxonomies and grid computing - VoIP, WLans and instant messaging is where the buzz will be in 2005.
"We have been using wireless LANs throughout 2004 and from an executive point of view they save everyone at least one hour a week by not having to plug in - and we are making limited use of publicly available hotspots," Esler said.
"As for VoIP, we have looked at the technology several times and it is starting to mature, which will make it a lot easier for us to implement and it also ties in with instant messaging projects we have just completed."
Asked to name one of his biggest challenges this year and Esler points a finger at viruses and spam which he describes as a "massive problem".
Sven Paepke, solution architect at BlueScope Steel, identified Web services, identity management and wireless LANS as hot technologies for the year.
"WLANs will definitely be a hot technology this year - we are currently using them to provide ad hoc network connectivity for some projects," Paepke said.
"Recent developments in standards and improved security will help further adoption. The standard, 802.11b will play less of a role, whereas 802.11a/g will provide good value for money and will continue to be implemented in 2005.
"We already plan to use VoIP for a number of new projects in 2005 but generally quality of service issues and bandwidth will continue to limit general use and PSTNs will continue to dominate for the foreseeable future."
Adam Cogan from the .Net Users Group, said the two issues that need to be dealt with in 2005 are spam and patching.
Cogan said the industry needs to invent more complex filters and sees no major innovations to solve this problem in the near future.