By the Numbers: SOX no bargain in '06

Linda Tucci, Executive Editor
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) might be getting older, but it's not getting cheaper. Compliance with SOX will continue to devour a large chunk of IT budgets in 2006 than it has in years past, according to Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.

Preliminary results from Gartner's 2005 survey of CIOs, IT compliance managers, CFOs and other compliance professionals show that IT financial compliance management spending will account for a median 15% of IT budgets next year. The amount is more than four times the 3.3% of the IT budget professionals dedicated to compliance costs in 2004, the first year of SOX compliance, according to Gartner.

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Audit and finance professionals, who made up roughly one-third of the 326 survey participants, estimated the highest spending: 20%. IT compliance managers estimated 10%. IT professionals estimated 12% -- and CIOs estimated 12.5%. (That means some CIOs might be surprised when their CFO submits a bill.)

Here are two bits of good news: The survey found that most organizations (62%) are funding regulatory compliance as an ongoing program, rather than treating SOX as a project or phase. And about 80% of CIOs said they are members of their organization's compliance or governance council -- as analysts suggest they should be.

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