As budget plans for 2015 develop, IT leaders are striving to make other departments of their organizations aware of new technologies that can improve business processes and bring in new customers. As the economy continues to improve, CIOs are also optimistic that business leaders will support innovation in addition to just keeping the lights on.

Computerworld’s Annual Forecast Survey of IT Executives shows that IT budgets are indeed continuing to grow, as 43% of the 194 respondents expect to increase spending in 2015. That’s up from 36% in last year’s study. This year’s average anticipated uptick is 13.1%, and overall, the expected changes in IT budgets reported by all respondents average out to 4.3%. IT is expected to again kick up spending on security tools, customer-facing technologies and information exchange/collaboration technologies that comprise the so-called SMAC stack — social and mobile tools, analytic systems and cloud computing. Meanwhile, it’s likely that hardware spending will continue to drop and services budgets will continue to rise.

Here’s what IT leaders say will be their top budget priorities for 2015.

1. Security

High-profile security breaches and the explosion of mobile technologies have propelled security spending to the top of the IT priority list for 2015. Key issues that will receive funding for improvements include access control, intrusion prevention, identity management, and virus and malware protection. Security spending has been a constant growth area for the past decade, rising at double-digit rates every year.

2. Cloud Computing

Companies continue to move away from big infrastructure investments in favor of cloud-based systems. Organizations will spend more on software as a service (SaaS) and a mix of public, private, hybrid and community clouds in 2015. For many companies, migrating to the cloud doesn’t require new IT dollars — just a shift away from infrastructure spending. Small and midsize companies may need spend more for cloud services, but they may have the most to gain from the increased capabilities and lower maintenance needs of hosted systems.

3. Business Analytics

Big data is still a big deal for enterprises. Some 38% of the IT executives say they will dedicate IT dollars to enterprise analytics, data mining and business intelligence in the coming year.As the Internet of Things rolls out, there will be even more data on customers to manage. Businesses are scrambling to figure out how they can extract value from this valuable information.

4. Application Development

Mobile apps and upgrading or replacing applications will consume another large chunk of 2015 IT budgets. This area also represents the most potential for innovation, as business scramble to connect consumers with products and services in as many ways as can be imagined.

5. Wireless/Mobile

Mobile spending for 2015 will include new investments in RFID technology, remote access tools, Wi-Fi, mobile/wireless devices and mobile device management systems. Expect that the majority of spending won’t be on devices, but more on the infrastructure and custom application development for various platforms. Companies also plan to spend on technology to support bring-your-own-device programs — most notably the systems necessary to provide secure mobile access to internal systems.

Find out what areas won’t see a spending increase and the study write-up at