IT organizations can expect to see small increases in operating budgets for 2013, even as cutbacks continue across other parts of business services, including finance, HR, and procurement, according to new IT Key Issues research from The Hackett Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: HCKT). The study found that the IT budget increases are in part being driven by increased demand and expectations, as IT organizations are being asked to respond to the new "borderless" business environment by building out a flexible, virtual, data-enabled model for service delivery. IT will play a key role as companies seek to fundamentally improve how they collaborate, make decisions, and execute operations. The Hackett Group's research identified three imperatives that shape IT strategy and the IT agenda for 2013, as companies seek to reduce complexity, improve analytics, and solidify their strategic contribution to the organization. IT leaders are seeking to demonstrate their impact on the business, both as a backbone of global operations and as an enabler of new revenue-generating capabilities. They are driving business-enabling innovation, in support of the new borderless business environment. Finally, IT leaders are seeking to future-proof their service delivery model, rethinking their role as companies become more global and focusing less on building technology and more on enabling capabilities. "IT priorities for 2013 are being driven by the dramatic shift we're seeing globally," explained The Hackett Group's Global IT Advisory Program Leader John Reeves. "Externally, companies are realizing that growth will come by expanding beyond traditional borders, whether that be new geographies or new forms of business relationships with their customers. Internally, functional borders between business services operations are also coming down in the wake of cross-enterprise, end-to-end process ownership. Finally, there are dramatically fewer barriers to service delivery placement, with Global Business Services operations able to provide seamless support to internal customers.