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Financial companies are set to increase IT budgets

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Furthermore, 37 per cent of respondents expect to have more budget in three years’ time to address this focus. The shift continues as innovation, which has typically taken a back seat during the recent economic difficulties, is now receiving much warranted attention. 

Less than half (47 per cent), of the IT budget within financial services organisations is currently spent on maintenance, with 28 per cent is now invested in innovation. More than two thirds also want IT staff to focus on value enhancing IT initiatives rather than resolving issues created by legacy systems.

“The findings reflect a sector that understands what it needs to do, and is poised to make the leap to invest,” said Anne MacRae, Head of Financial Services, Fujitsu UK & Ireland. “Focus on enabling growth and driving innovation are crucial in organisations moving forward in an increasingly competitive market under threat from technology-led entrants. It’s exciting to see the beginning of trends that could lead to a significant change in the role IT plays within financial services.”

The key takeaway, however, is that as the role of IT changes, IT departments will need to undergo significant change in order to best serve the business.

Matthew Oakeley, Head of Group IT, Schroders said: “I don’t think that the reason that IT doesn’t ‘deliver’ is that the resources aren’t there. Even if you had an infinite supply of resources, I just don’t think that it would be possible to deploy them. There’s a tolerance threshold for change in any organisation, and I think that there’s a balance that needs to be struck between doing more and the level of concurrent change that the organisation can actually sustain successfully.”

Just as budgets, priorities and obstacles continue to change, so does the overarching nature of IT within financial services. When questioned in 2012 the focus was on drawing financial support from the wider business. IT decision makers predicted that two years into the future almost half would expect the same budget centrally and more funds would come from the rest of the business, reflecting optimism when it comes to rallying funds from the organisation. Two years on just 13 per cent expect to see projects funded by the wider business in the next year, rising to a more realistic 22 per cent in three years’ time. This is because departments other than IT are driving the agenda and IT departments need to continue to gear up for change.

“In the next three years team members could be spread across the company, each delivering different products and services. The IT department must redefine its role recognising the contribution it must make to ensuring consistency, driving efficiency and achieving compliance, as financial organisations embrace the opportunity of business led transformation.” concluded Anne MacRae.

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