More small businesses are pulling out their checkbooks with
an eye to spending on IT than at any time since the last recession began in
2007, in a sign the technology economy may rebound during 2011 faster than
expected not long ago. However, the outlook for staffing is not as positive,
with a higher percentage of corporate IT decision makers saying they expect to
cut IT staff in the next six months.
The CDW IT Monitor,
a regular national poll of more than 1,000 IT decision makers conducted in
November, found that almost half (49 percent) of small businesses anticipate
replacing or installing new hardware in the next six months. At medium size
businesses, 90 percent had the same expectation. The figures were up ten percentage
points since the last survey in October 2010.
The software outlook was even rosier. Sixty-one percent of
small business IT decision makers said they anticipate replacing or installing
new software in the next six months. And overall, the index’s small business IT
Growth Monitor, which measures IT investment expectations, hit its highest
point since December 20007, rising five points from October to 54.
Small and medium-sized businesses are helping to make up for
cooling enthusiasm toward IT spending from the large business sector. Big
businesses had been relatively more optimistic during the first part of 2010.
Compared to October’s survey, for instance, a lower percentage of large
businesses planned to buy new hardware and software, opposite to the small and
medium-sized firms’ trend.
Still, overall, the results were positive. In the latest
survey, 75 percent of all corporate IT decision makers anticipate replacing or
installing hardware in the next six months.
Seventy-eight percent indicated they had similar plans for software. The
results represented the highest level in the corporate sector since December
2007, when the first survey was taken.
Plans for adding IT staff are not as promising. Eight
percent of corporate IT decision makers said they plan to reduce IT staff in
the next six months. That number was up 3 percentage points since October 2010.
The results indicate that organizations are trying to
improve productivity with new hardware and software purchases, while curbing
human resource outlays, suggested Thomas E. Richards, president and COO of CDW.
“Focusing on the IT refresh cycle and upgrading existing technology clearly is
taking immediate precedence with decision makers over increasing IT staffing in
the near term,” he said.
In another negative finding, government IT decision makers
were less ready to spend than their private counterparts, and also less
optimistic than they’d been all year, according to the survey. The IT Growth Monitor for the federal
government sector fell four points to 69, the lowest reading of 2010.
Only registered users can write comments. Please login or register.