For the first time in years, businesses in Australia and New Zealand are expected to increase hardware spending, according to a Forrester report.
The increased hardware spending will largely be driven by smartphones and tablets, but even PCs will see modest growth, the analyst firm said in the report, Benchmarking Australia and New Zealand Tech Budgets.
The increase will occur as overall technology budgets for many A/NZ businesses rise in 2015, both inside and outside of the CIO's department, the report said.
Forrester predicted that hardware will comprise 16 per cent of average IT budgets this year. In a survey of technology decision makers from the region, Forrester found that 46 per cent believe hardware spending will increase, versus 26 per cent who say it will decrease.
"This is the first growth in hardware budgets in a number of years," it said.
"While end user computing will make a comeback in 2015, most new investment will go to smartphones and tablets."
Nearly half of the surveyed businesses said they will spend more on smartphones, said Forrester. This has implications for bring your own device (BYOD), the trend in which employees use their own phones in the workplace.
"Only 2 per cent [of businesses] say they will decrease their investment in smartphones, suggesting that few companies will move away from corporate-provided devices and toward a bring-your-own-device program," said Forrester.
Forrester was also bullish on tablet spending. "After many years of tentative investments in tablets, 2015 will be the year that organisations in A/NZ dive in and embrace the capabilities that tablets bring to their business," it said.
Even PCs will see growth this year -- albeit small -- though many companies are more interested in hybrid devices that combine features from tablets and traditional PCs, Forrester said.
"PCs will see modest growth -- which is a change from previous years -- but that growth will be limited in its scope compared with other areas of tech spending."
It won't just be the CIO spending money on technology, said Forrester. The analyst firm predicted that nearly half of the technology spending in A/NZ businesses will come from business units outside the CIO's purview, said Forrester.
Last year, 14 per cent of all tech spending went to reimbursing employees for the tech they purchased, it said. Another 30 per cent of tech spending came from business units without IT involvement, it said.
In 2015, Forrester predicted that 46 per cent of business decision makers will increase tech spending by 5 per cent or more, and a further 19 per cent will increase tech spending by more than 10 per cent.
"The CIO is no longer the sole controller of technology spending at most firms -- and must adapt to a new reality in which their job is primarily to influence and guide spending."
That's not to say CIOs should worry about their job security, said Forrester.
"Business leaders' tech investments are not an indictment of the CIO. Quite the contrary: All indications are that business decision-makers investing in technology are generally happy with their CIO ...
"Rather, they're investing their own funds in tech because they believe that technology is simply too important for the business not to be involved."