IT Spending 2010 to Focus on Infrastructure, Optimization, ROI

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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While a boom year may not be ahead in 2010, many observers say that it will be better than 2009. New research from TheInfoPro shows an increase in spending on infrastructure, optimization and quick ROI, including projects such as virtualization, and unified communications and video conferencing.

No one is forecasting a boom year for 2010, but many observers are making predictions that point to some smart growth in terms of spending within IT organizations.

And TheInfoPro is no exception. The research firm’s most recent research looking into trends for Fortune 1000 and midsize enterprises reveals that these organizations plan to focus their budget dollars and man-hours on improving infrastructure and optimizing performance in 2010.

"There’s no truth to the hype that we are going to see a quick spending rebound after the year we’ve just had, but there is still a lot to be pleased with in terms of anticipated 2010 budgets," says Ken Male, CEO of TheInfoPro, in a prepared statement.

"We had hoped in the second half of 2009 business units would demand new projects, applications, lines of business, etc., but that has not been the case," he adds. "However, there is benefit from these tough times; for example, IT departments will expand services based on the consolidation and virtualization measures that have worked well for them to get through this recession."

The new infrastructure focus will come at the expense of new pilots and projects, according to the research which is based on interviews with more than 1,000 IT decision makers from more than 800 organizations.

Key infrastructure areas that TheInfoPro asked about included storage, servers, networking, information security, virtualization and cloud computing.

Other key spending trends include:

  • A focus on technology purchases that focus on optimization of existing server, networking and storage assets, and requiring a six- to 12-month return on investment (ROI).
  • Similarly, emerging technology will more likely get the green light if it can demonstrate quick ROI.
  • Investments in upgrades will be made to support virtualization demands, particularly in networking.

As for investments in storage technology, IT professionals say they focused on consolidation in 2009 but expect to return to spending in 2010. However, there’s uncertainty around whether they will invest in new applications. Storage budgets did not suffer as much in 2009 at midsized companies, and in 2010, those budgets are expected to increase again.

The research also found that NAS activity has continued to expand for business analytics, application optimization and virtual server adoption.

As for servers, research showed that spending will turn net positive, with 30 percent of IT decision makers saying that they will increase spending for this technology while 22 percent said they will decrease it.

And while companies will need to invest more in hardware, not all vendors are created equal. The research showed that Dell and HP are the first choice in terms of hardware vendors.

In terms of virtualization, one area that will see a major increase in pilot programs and installations in 2010 is desktop virtualization, according to TheInfoPro research.

Networking spending trends are as follows:

  • Early projections show fewer big networking budget cuts in 2010 compared with 2009, with 58 percent of IT decision makers saying they expect spending to have flat to 10 percent growth. High ROI projects such as WAN optimization continue to be deployed. And to a lesser degree, unified communications in terms of unifying voice and video into the enterprise network backbone is also moving forward when it can be accomplished without large infrastructure upgrades.
  • 15 percent of organizations are planning IP video conferencing solutions as a strategy to offset travel expenses and improve organizational effectiveness.
  • An additional 29 percent of companies, or nearly 75 percent of the current adoption rate, have unified messaging solutions in their plans for the next 12 months.

Cloud computing continues to gain momentum, even if it is not mainstream. While nearly 60 percent of server organizations are not evaluating or planning to use cloud computing, the number of organizations indicating interest in cloud computing has nearly doubled in the past year, going from 20 percent to 40 percent.

TheInfoPro says that 30 percent of those interviewed said they would be slow to adopt cloud computing because of immaturity of the technology, with another 25 percent saying they are reluctant because of security concerns.

While internal models were favored by 53 percent, a big chunk of organizations—34 percent—are looking at a hybrid of internal and external models.  

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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