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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)

Medium-Size

Businesses

(100-999 employees)

Large

Businesses

(1,000+ employees)

Anticipate purchasing new hardware in the
next six months

36%

80%

86%

Anticipate purchasing new software in the
next six months

47%

84%

92%

Anticipate increasing IT staffing over the
next six months

4%

23%

39%

Anticipate increasing IT budgets over the
next six months

30%

59%

63%


 

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."