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While large business and medium-sized business are showing more
confidence with plans to invest in IT products and IT staff again,
small business IT investment may have slipped.

That’s according to the most recent survey of IT professionals and the
CDW IT Monitor. In the government sector, federal government IT
decision makers are showing even more confidence, according to the

However, because the pattern of the current recession is different from
past recessions, it’s hard to predict whether the return of confidence
among large and small business and among government IT decision makers
can be sustained.

"This downturn has not followed the path of previous ones, making it
more difficult to predict the shape of the recovery," says Mark
Gambill, the CDW vice president in charge of the survey, in a prepared
statement. "But IT confidence has held steady for nearly four months,
and we’re now beginning to see signs of a patchy turnaround with medium
and large businesses anticipating future growth."

The most recent survey shows that sentiment remains stable across the
broader IT marketplace, with the overall CDW IT Monitor score remaining
flat for the third consecutive reading. CDW conducts the survey every
two months.

CDW notes that the signs of anticipated growth in investment that first
appeared in the April survey are now becoming more visible, such as the

  • 83 percent of medium sized businesses expect to purchase new software in the next six months (up 5 percent since April).
  • 28 percent of large businesses expect to hire additional staff in the next six months (also up 5 percent since April).
  • 52 percent of federal IT decision makers anticipate budget
    increases in the next six months (an increase of 17 percent since April
    and, CDW notes, the largest leap in the government sector to date.)

However, while small businesses showed signs of increasing confidence
earlier this year, fewer currently expect their budgets to improve,
according to the most recent survey. Now only 21 percent of small
business IT decision makers say they expect their IT budgets to
increase in the next six months, down 8 percent since April. And only
17 percent of local government IT decision makers expect their IT
budgets to increase in the next six months, down 6 percent since April.

"The unsteady nature of this turnaround is demonstrated by the slight
decline in small business confidence,” says Gambill. “Larger companies
have been aggressively managing costs as well through this period, but
there comes a point when investments have to be made."

The CDW IT Monitor is based on an online survey of at least 1,000 IT
decision makers from businesses of all sizes and all sectors of