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    IT budgets set to grow, departments should still aim for efficiency

    IT budgets are expected to grow in 2015, but IT departments should still aim for efficiency.

    The end of the year means that it's time to start making next year's budget. No matter what part of the business, it's important to ensure that your department plans carefully and aims to get as much bang for its buck as possible. Fortunately for IT departments everywhere, one report found that IT budgets are expected to grow significantly next year, providing more resources to a critical area within organizations everywhere.

    IT budgets rise in step with its importance
    Almost every business, small to large, uses IT solutions everyday to handle the deluge of data they gather, improve productivity and deliver products to customers. ZDNet reported that based on the results of one survey, the recovery of the U.S. economy is prompting businesses to spend and invest in themselves and that a good majority of that spending will go to IT infrastructure.

    Several respondents to the survey said that IT was of equal or more importance to the overall success of the business than any other department. This wasn't just talk either – 80 percent of respondents said that their IT budget for 2015 will be the same or higher than it was last year.

    ZDNet noted that the IT windfall will be spent on the highest priority items. 63 percent of respondents said that improving the efficiency of key business processes was the number one priority and where the bulk of the spending will go. Increasing productivity was another major priority. Both efficiency and productivity will be the backbone of enterprises hoping to compete in the fast paced, more agile business world of today.

    Getting the most out of a budget
    Budgets are slated to increase, but that doesn't mean IT departments can afford to be wasteful. ComputerWorld wrote that this is especially true for small to medium sized businesses who want to compete with large-scale enterprise. First Banks, Inc., a medium sized bank in Clayton, Missouri, already understands this principle well.

    "We're a midsize bank. We can't keep up with the big guys in terms of their IT spending. We have to find ways where we can do things differently that give us a boost here and there," said First Banks CIO Rick Nolle.

    Nolle added that during 2014, 36 percent of his budget went to hosted services. He said that his organization is looking to cloud computing services for their efficiency and their increasingly customizable options.