CDW: IT Decision Maker Confidence Declines

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

IT solution providers and IT consultants are already feeling it -- declining confidence among end customers. The most recent CDW IT Monitor survey results show that confidence is down among IT decision makers in terms of the ability of IT to help achieve the organization's mission and in terms of IT's access to the resources it needs.

Confidence among IT decision makers everywhere declined in September, but particularly among local, state and federal government IT executives as tax revenues slowed and budgets tightened.

That's according to the most recent edition of the CDW IT Monitor, a bimonthly indicator of IT confidence in the marketplace, culled from surveys of 1,000 or more IT executives.

But it could have been worse. And future surveys are likely to show bigger declines across the board. The most recent survey was conducted between Sept. 15 and Sept. 22, just before the Dow Jones Industrial Average sunk 777 points on Sept. 29. And that date marked just the beginning of the roller coaster for the global economy during the month of October.

So given the timing, the results of the current poll are not as dramatic as they might have been and are likely to be when CDW releases the next edition in December.

"I was surprised that it wasn't more dramatic than what we saw," said Mark Gambill, the CDW vice president in charge of the IT Monitor. "The area where the radar blipped this time was in the government sector. The looming presidential election and 10 states where the governor's seat is up for election too may have added to the uncertainty here."

Plus, "across the board you have a shortfall of tax revenues," Gambill said. "I think this lack of visibility into when this is all going to stop is causing everyone just to wait and see. While they are not being pessimistic, they are not being optimistic either."

Gambill noted that the IT Monitor score for the government sector decreased a full 4 points to 70 from 74 in August, the lowest government reading since CDW began the survey in December 2007.

The IT Growth Monitor index – a measure of IT's ability to get the resources it needs – was down 2 points to 68 from August. The IT Value Monitor – a measure of IT's effectiveness in solving an organization's missions and goals – was down 4 points to 73 from August. The combined index, the CDW IT Monitor index, was down 1 point to 72 from August. The combined index includes decision makers from both the government and corporate sectors.

Other key findings:


Key Findings from IT Value & IT Growth Sub-Indices

Small Businesses

(1-99 employees)



(100-999 employees)



(1,000+ employees)

Anticipate purchasing new hardware in the next six months




Anticipate purchasing new software in the next six months




Anticipate increasing IT staffing over the next six months




Anticipate increasing IT budgets over the next six months




The current index, given its timeframe, does not take into account the financial crisis and global economic downturn.

The August survey reflected concerns over the slow economy and the presidential election. Since then, the economy has gone considerably further south.

Gambill pointed out that in spite of the global crisis, there are some technology categories where companies realize they must continue to invest, including areas such as security, technologies to manage the cost of power, virtualization and storage.

"But where they can, companies will delay or elongate the purchase cycle," Gambill cautioned.

"I think that people are still generally optimistic that the economy will turn at some point," Gambill said. "They have a really strong optimism in the value IT brings. We are still in the midst of extremely tough times, but people still have confidence. I won't call it optimism, but there's an underlying confidence."


Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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