PAYE umbrella contractors working in the IT skills market are set to enjoy a busy and prosperous year according to a new report from IBM.

The study took a global look at 2,000 midsized end-user organisations (i.e., firms employing between 100 and 1,000 people) and noted what it called a “sharp increase in confidence” amongst 62 per cent of UK companies, all of which plan to increase IT budgets over the next 12 – 18 months.

This figure compares very favourably with that obtained in a similar poll just twelve months ago, when only 11 per cent of respondents felt positive. Today, most of the firms are decidedly more optimistic and are planning to boost investment in analytics and cloud computing. 72 per cent of mid-sized firms are actively pursuing analytics in order to “improve decision-making and operational efficiency.” A slightly smaller 70 per cent are adopting the cloud model.

The growth in interest in cloud computing amongst SME’s is particularly noteworthy, as it has in the past tended to be adopted by larger enterprises. Two-thirds of the respondents said that they were turning to the technology in order to improve IT systems and lower costs.

Commenting on the survey, the IoD’s Director-General, Miles Templeman, said that although reducing operational costs remains a “major priority” for midmarket firms, many are now seeking to increase business investment in key areas such as IT. He added that it reflects a “change of mindset,” with companies at last beginning to concentrate on the path to growth rather than on the recessionary pressures that had previously preoccupied them.

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