Data and file storage needs have hit a new high for architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms. Companies now have a median of 12.3 gigabytes of online disk storage space per employee, up from 8.1 gigabytes in 2005 and just 3.3 gigabytes in 2003. A quarter of firms have at least 21.4 gigabytes per employee, according to ZweigWhite’s “2006 Information Technology Survey of Architecture, Engineering, Planning & Environmental Consulting Firms.”
Survey respondents indicated data storage and file management is one of the biggest information technology challenges due to the difficulties of managing increasingly large project files, images, and digital photos. Half of the respondents plan to increase spending on data storage by about 15% this year, and more than half (65%) predict an increase of about 10% in overall IT expenses. In 2005, AEC firms invested an average of 3.4% of revenue on IT, or about $3,500 per employee.