Budgets fail to grow in line with bandwidth needs

Enterprise bandwidth requirements will more than double in the next five years, yet budgets will only increase by five per cent, according to a survey released today.

The research, carried out by Omniboss - a division of market analysis firm Vanson Bourne - among 100 senior IT decision makers found a further one in five executives thought their bandwidth requirements were likely to grow by 150 per cent or more.

The survey found a number of specific factors that are driving bandwidth requirements. The sheer growth of email and web traffic was the largest perceived issue, cited by 39 per cent of respondents.

Nearly one third (30 per cent) believed voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and converging voice, data and multimedia technologies such as video on demand would also have a significant effect on traffic in the future. And 18 per cent said bandwidth requirements would increase as a result of supporting ERP and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Despite 91 per cent of respondents believing that their bandwidth needs would grow significantly over the next five years, three quarters said that increasing network bandwidth was not their top IT concern. Preparing for an economic downturn, as well as dealing with growing security threats, were more important. Over half (56 per cent) of the sample admitted that preparing and implementing business continuity plans was at the top of the list for the coming year.

Michael Davies, product director for European business communications provider Viatel, the survey's sponsor, said that these other IT budget priorities were understandable. But, in light of the fact that almost all business-critical processes run over the network, he warned: "IT managers need to make sure that they don't neglect their bandwidth or networks could grind to a halt. This could translate directly to a loss of revenue as these processes are held up in congested networks."

He advised IT organisations to re-evaluate their use of legacy technologies such as leased lines and dial-up. These, he said, tie up budget unnecessarily as they are more expensive and less efficient than newer technologies.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.