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IT executives are more optimistic headed into
2010, but the business world is different and their spending habits on new
technology may be different as well.

That’s according to the most recent edition of CompTIA’s IT Industry Business
Confidence Index taken from a survey of IT professionals—including in-house IT
and VARs—in December about their expectations for spending, strategic
technologies and the trends shaping IT in the years ahead.

The survey, only conducted since mid-2009, showed the sharpest rise in optimism
among IT executives since it began, according to Tim Herbert, vice president of
research at CompTIA. Herbert notes that CompTIA began conducting the survey to
get a better handle on the changes going on in the economy and in technology

"Companies weren’t seeing any true signs of
recovery in 2009 and they weren’t seeing things getting worse," Herbert
says. "There was a sense of moving along without any directional change up
or down."

But the survey in December revealed some rays of hope among IT professionals.
And getting more granular, the survey showed that top technologies targeted for
deployment continue to include security products and services and
virtualization, but that VARs are also looking to the health care IT vertical
market and to "green" IT.

Other major trends included the following: 75 percent of executives think the
consumerization of IT will continue to accelerate, 80 percent said businesses
will accelerate their use of alternative business productivity applications via
a software-as-a service model and 78 percent said they believe reliance on
mobility, telework and virtual offices will grow this year.

Herbert says midsize businesses—defined as those with between $20 million and
$100 million in revenue—showed the greatest degree of optimism.

"They are still small enough to be nimble," he says. "They tend
to react faster than a large corporation."

Overall, the survey’s results could be viewed as good news.

"Clearly this is the most positive indicator we have received since
running this confidence index," he tells Channel Insider, adding that part
of the positive sentiment may be reaction to some macroeconomic indicators that
point to recovery.

"But while things have improved, there is still a sense of cautious
optimism," Herbert says. And IT executives acknowledge they are still
concerned about the potential for a stalled recovery, as well as high
unemployment numbers, low consumer spending and other factors.