At least some CIOs are optimistic that their fire-fighting days are going to be reduced. A survey by Coleman-Parkes Research, conducted on behalf of Avanade, found that IT bosses expect to spend 14 per cent of their time on crisis management in three years’ time compared to 26 per cent three years ago.

Based on the responses of 56 senior IT managers, that finding might in part be explained by the fact that most respondents also expect to invest more in outsourcing over the next few years. In some areas the increase in usage is expected to be marked: helpdesk is forecast to rise from affecting 33 per cent today to 55 per cent of respondents; collaboration to go from 27 to 47 per cent; process definition from 19 to 36 per cent; and customer management from 23 to 39 per cent.

Another possible reason for the hopes of reduced time spent on crises is broad expectation of devolved decision making on technology purchasing and strategy. Only 13 per cent of the IT spend justification will lie “nearly always with the IT function” in three years, compared to 23 per cent three years ago, according to a poll of the CIOs and an equal number of UK business unit heads. Initiation of IT projects is also following the same route away from direct IT control and towards user departments, the survey said.

Avanade CTO Michael Paulson also predicted that spiralling numbers of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server installations could lead to problems of storage and “information overload”.