Today's IT spending survey laced with a little hope

A limited number of IT shops will increase spending in 2009.

Wouldn't it be nice to read about an IT spending study that boasted good news? TNS Global on Tuesday published a report that it claims brings some reason to hope: A small percentage of IT shops are projecting increased spending, and some technologies will likely continue growing.

Those IT professionals, employed or otherwise, won't find wished-for signs of a recovery in this study, but at least spending is not bleak in every facet of the tech realm.

While half of respondents to its survey of 400 IT managers in the U.S. and Europe said their budgets were cut and slightly more than one-third expect them to remain flat, the silver lining is that 16 percent are actually projecting a spending increase in 2009, TNS said.

Healthcare IT spending, the firm said, is projected to remain strong, while the obvious candidates for slashed IT budgets include financial services and manufacturing companies.

As for specific technologies, TNS found that 31 percent of respondents will spend more on storage hardware while 40 percent will hold flat. Nearly half have cut spending on desktop hardware.

The category that strikes deepest, of course, is personnel and 43 percent of participants have already cut IT staff. But that number is smaller than the 56 percent of respondents who reduced spending on consulting and professional services; among those who have cut, nearly a third are slashing their budget by more than 50 percent, TNS found.

TNS is hardly the first market research firm to make such predictions. IDC has projected that storage and cloud computing spending will continue to rise during, if not because of, the current recession. And InfoWorld last fall compiled the five top IT spending priorities for tight times.