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The unpredictable economy has led many organizations to question their spending on services, especially in the United States, where 20 percent of companies are uncertain of their investment plans. If businesses are to allocate parts of their budget for services, the solutions will need to be flexible, cost-effective and provide a competitive advantage, according to a new study by IDC.

Internal circumstances are a major influence on spending, the report noted, as many companies are more concerned with cash on hand and staff availability than they are with macroeconomic components.

"Greater budget uncertainty requires showing a stronger business case for adoption of external services in 2012," IDC global services market and trends vice president Rebecca Segal said. "Service firms must be able to clearly articulate business benefit in terms of cost savings and efficiency gains, business effectiveness and addressing of compliance regulations. These are the highest priorities for customers and will drive the release of services spending."

According to a new study by IDG Enterprise, many companies are allocating roughly one-third of their budgets for cloud computing as the majority believe hosted environments will provide long-term cost savings. More than one-quarter of businesses will perform the majority of IT tasks in the cloud during the next five years as a result of these savings.