Brexit doesn't stop mid-market UK firms increasing IT budgets

Despite the uncertainty around Brexit, most mid-market companies in the UK are expecting to increase their IT budgets, according to research, with 77% expecting a rise in their 2017 IT budgets.

The research from data centre and cloud services firm Node4 reveals 35% of IT decision makers in the mid-market expect IT budget rises of 5-10% this year, while a further 22% anticipate a hike of over 10%. This is “against a backdrop of shrinking IT budgets in the UK as a whole”, said Node4.

The research examined the attitudes of 200 IT decision makers at mid-market companies with a turnover of between £15m and £800m. It found that business growth, security and reducing operational costs are the top three IT priorities for the UK’s mid-market sector in 2017.

It also revealed that hosted and cloud-based services will take a significant share of mid-market IT budgets in 2017, with infrastructure-as-a-service (20%) and managed security-as-a-service (16%) being the top two cloud spending priorities for the year, followed by managed services (12%) and disaster-recovery-as-a-service (11%).

However, confidence in the mid-market’s general financial outlook is not quite so strong, as just 18% of mid-sized businesses claimed to be “optimistic” about their organisation’s fortunes in 2017. Almost a third (31%) emphasised the “difficulties” presented by a looming Brexit, and an overwhelming 81% agreed that “weathering Brexit” is a high or medium priority this year. And the research was carried out before the news that the UK would be having a General Election, which may cause more uncertainty.

The mid-market sector also believes the government, the financial sector and IT partners should be doing more to support it, with the report revealing that 36% believe the mid-market's needs are not being addressed by government policy makers. Another 34% “struggle” to attract investment and a quarter feel their needs are “overlooked” by IT providers.

Paul Bryce, business development director, Node4, said: “Mid-tier companies are the engine of the UK’s economy, so it is promising to see investment taking place in the IT infrastructure that will help to fuel further growth. Despite the current challenging business climate, the mid-market is the fastest growing sector in the UK economy, and policy-makers, investors and IT vendors alike should focus on enabling this growth.”

The IT leaders surveyed were responsible for an average IT account of around 90 people, with an annual IT budget of up to £10m.