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Firms turning to IT to weather financial storm

GITEX: CIOs' budgets growing to help firms boost competitiveness, efficiency - Gartner.

Companies in the Gulf are turning to their IT departments to help them weather the global financial crisis, a senior executive at IT research and advisory firm Gartner told Arabian Business on Monday.

Speaking during a brief trip to Dubai, Elias Bayeh, EMEA vice president of Executive Programmes, said the budgets of chief information officers (CIOs) are actually growing at a time when many companies are re-examining spending plans.

Bayeh said budgets for CIO's are increasing by 4.5 percent year-on-year worldwide, and the picture is similar in the Middle East.

He said companies are looking to CIOs to boost efficiency and competitiveness as the role of CIOs becomes more widely recognised as a vital part of a company’s growth.

“CIO's view it [the credit crunch] as a opportunity and their perception is that when the business is in trouble it turns to IT to try make a difference, to try to help the business become more efficient and competitive,” Bayeh said.

He said 40 percent of CIO's budgets for innovation and growth within the business are growing and as a result of the credit crunch are likely to continue to grow.

"Costs are being cut on the operation side, but there is more pressure to innovative and as a result they [CIOs] get more money to do that," he said.

“Most companies are investing more in IT and telling CIO's to help them innovate and come up with better ways of being competitive and profitable.”