CIOs stuck with modest IT budgets this year should look to funds parked with other divisions, according to Gartner.
The analyst firm today released the worldwide results of its annual CIO survey, based on information from 2335 CIOs.
The survey found almost half of the CIOs surveyed expect to spend more on IT this year than they did in 2011.
In Asia Pacific, budgets are expected to be up by 3.4 percent - modest compared to Latin America's 12.7 percent rise but not in the negative territory expected for North America and Europe.
However, the business priorities of CIOs this year suggests more budget might be procured through indirect means.
CIOs surveyed said that attracting and retaining new customers is their second biggest priority this year - a function that may in the past have been more the domain of management, sales or marketing.
Gartner's CIO group distinguished analyst, John Roberts, told iTnews that helping other business units reach their goals with technology could open new lines of funding for IT projects.
"Increasingly we're seeing chief marketing officers may well have a bigger technology budget than CIOs have," Roberts said.
"There is so much more of marketing is technology-enabled. It's by no means clear at this stage that CIOs will take responsibility for that, but we're certainly encouraging [them] to work very closely with that marketing and sales relationship because it is going to be technology-enabled and you don't want to set up duplicate operations and control systems in an organisation."
The relative success of CIOs in non-traditional IT areas would depend on their credibility within the company, Roberts said.
However, it is clear from the technology priorities of CIOs this year that customer focus is high on the agenda.
CIOs named business intelligence and analytics their top IT priority in 2012. It was the fifth highest priority last year.
In addition, collaboration, CRM and ERP all feature among CIOs' top ten IT priorities this year, and social networking just missed out on a top ten finish, placing 11th.
The key change this year is that BI and analytics engines are embedded components or capabilities of other platforms or systems, rather than the big standalone systems they once were.
"It's moved on from the days of all [being] in the data warehouse," Roberts said.
Cloud computing - which last year ranked as CIOs' top IT priority - fell to third on the list this year.