CIOs in the fourth quarter of 2006 were more confident about the future than they were in the third quarter, report analysts from Forrester Research. After remaining steady for most of 2006, expectations for a stronger future business climate grew, with 91% of CIOs polled saying they expect improved conditions three quarters from now. Fifty-seven percent expect much better conditions. How confident a CIO feels seems to be directly related to the size of his or her company. Forrester s report shows that 73% of CIOs from companies with 5,000 or more employees expect much better business conditions, while only 42% from companies with 500 to 4,999 employees felt the same way. As for spending, expectations held pretty steady. CIOs who predict an increase in their spending three quarters from now grew only 1% in the fourth quarter, hitting 88% total. The study also shows that spending was on par with expectations for this past year, with 65% expecting to be right on target with their 2006 budgets and 31% expecting their spending to come in over budget. Only 2% expected to come in under budget. The Forrester report also showed that 88% of CIOs surveyed said they were spending more in Q4 2006 than in the same time period the year before. When it comes to their take on current business conditions, though, CIOs aren t quite so positive. Confidence in current business conditions hit a historic high of 93% in Q3, reports Forrester, but dipped slightly to 91% in the next quarter. The fourth quarter number is up from 84% in the last quarter of 2005. The study surveyed 115 CIOs at North American companies. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed were from companies with 1,000 to 4,999 employees and 36% were from companies with 5,000 to 19,999 employees. Source: www.optimizemag.coma>