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IT decision-makers at U.S. corporations believe 2009 company performance will be better than 2008.

That’s according to new forecasting trend information gleaned from the most recent CDW IT Monitor poll of more than 1,000 IT decision makers.

Now a year into its CDW IT Monitor survey of IT decision maker sentiment, the survey can offer year-over-year data and forecasting trend information.

If the relative optimism expressed by respondents about 2009 compared to 2008 is surprising, keep in mind it may be a function of when the 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 it has taken the global economy on during the months of October and November.

Forty-one percent of IT decision makers said their biggest priority for 2009 would be cost management, but 32 percent said investment in new products and technologies was a top priority, an increase of 5 percent from 2008.

Other data points include the following:

  • 57 percent said the weak economy was the biggest obstacle to growth in 2008, a 16 percent increase from their answer a year ago
  • 44 percent say that their 2008 company performance was the same or worse than 2007
  • 23 percent said their biggest obstacle was cash flow and access to financing, and 19 percent cited internal operational costs
  • 20 percent said employee recruitment and retention would be a top priority in 2009, down 5 percent from 2008 

Looking ahead, Mark Gambill, the CDW vice president in charge of the survey, notes that IT decision makers are shifting their thinking about the economic crisis.

"It was a fear of the unknown, and now it’s gone from uncertainty to no short-term end in sight," Gambill says. "Instead of holding off on projects they are recalibrating. A company before might have decided to hold off on planned investments for the short-term, and now they are at the point where they are delaying them for longer."

Companies will likely continue to invest in areas such as IT security and business continuity, but many other technology investments will likely be put on the back burner, according to Gambill.