Australia is falling behind in terms of ICT spending across both the corporate and education sectors, according to new reports from two leading market analytics firms.
Figures recently released by Gartner show many Australian businesses are cutting ICT spending at the same time they are expecting technology investments to support business growth.
The global survey of chief information officers shows while ICT budgets for businesses globally grew by 0.2%, Australia’s went in the opposite direction, shrinking by 0.1%. Despite the budget cuts, however, 76% of Australian CIOs say they plan to change their technology and sourcing approach in the next two-to-three years.
The survey also shows that just 43% of Australian busienssses use software-as-a-services (SaaS), compared to 72% of businesses globally.
Meanwhile only 6% of Australian businesses have predominantly outsourced operations compared to 10% of businesses globally, while 60% of Australian businesses outsource some functions compared to 63% internationally.
The findings, showing lagging ICT funding, are echoed by a separate report from IDC focusing on Australia’s education sector, showing educational institutions suffered year-on-year ICT budget cuts of 35% during 2013, with similar cuts forecast for 2014.
The cuts are coming at the same time overseas student numbers are falling from a 2009 peak, at the exact moment the sector should be investing in ICT to ward off the growing challenge posed by Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
In a statement, IDC warns Australia’s education sector could be at risk as a result of a spending shortfall in ICT.
“There is a great deal of focus on educational outcomes for political reasons. However, very little is publicly focused on the role that ICT has to play for critical sector-wide transformations,” IDC states.
“[The] IDC Government Insights’ surveys found that education initiations are planning to implement higher bandwidth broadband, social networking technologies, mobility, and videoconferencing that can come together to create cutting-edge educational experiences.
“[As]Australia’s 4th largest export, the education sector needs serious transformation attention.”