Corporate IT spending in Europe is at an all-time low, and is likely to remain there until mid-2003, claims analyst firm Gartner.

Gartner surveyed the spending plans of 415 corporations in eight European countries to assess their spending plans.

Only 25 per cent of the corporates expect to increase their IT budgets, though a similar number expect to cut them. Other budgets are to remain unchanged, Gartner claims.

“It’s not good news for the IT industry,” said Steve Prentice, vice president and director of research for Gartner.

The firm asked IT directors to identify their spending priorities for 2002. Integration and consolidation of existing projects was top of the list for 13.1 per cent of respondents, followed by systems architecture and planning for a further 12.62 per cent.

No quick fixes Vendors looking for ‘the next big thing’ are out of luck: there is no one killer technology on which users are focusing their spending.

“Responses were very diverse,” Prentice said. “There is no specific external focus, not like the year 2000 problem. There is no single enemy.”

In the past, organizations have tended to assume that all spending on IT is good, but “In the future, people will treat IT expenditure in the same way as everything else, with the same checks and balances,” he said.

Gartner is still analysing the results of its IT spending survey, said Prentice. He expects to deliver more detailed findings at Gartner’s Symposium conference in Italy, from April 8-10, 2002.