IT chiefs more pessimistic than vendors

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IT chiefs more pessimistic than vendors

Technology vendors beware ­- IT managers are far less enthusiastic about the latest technologies and the economic prospects for the next 12 months than their suppliers.

This is the main finding of the first quarterly Computing Technology Barometer, produced in association with financial adviser Cobalt Corporate Finance.

The barometer research asked a standard set of questions to a panel of Computing readers and to Cobalt’s IT vendor clients to compare views on the key issues of the day.

The results show that IT managers are less optimistic about employment levels and technology adoption.

Computing readers said they expect staff numbers to decline in the next 12 months -­ albeit only slightly.

But vendors expect an increase ­ a view at odds with the reality of more than 40,000 industry job cuts announced in the past two months alone.

Cobalt partner Chris Williams said the disparity may be due to the recession hitting corporate IT buyers more quickly.

“IT decision-makers are one stage closer to the consumer and may be seeing the real effect of uncertainty on planning and budgets much earlier. Vendors may be due a wake-up call,” he said.

The Computing/Cobalt Barometer also asked respondents to identify their priorities for different technologies. In every category except one, vendors are expecting key technologies to be implemented sooner than IT managers are planning to do so.

The biggest disparities came in cloud computing, software-as-a-service and social networking, where suppliers anticipate much more rapid uptake than their customers.

The only area where IT managers are more enthusiastic than vendors was in green IT perhaps surprising given the amount of “greenwash” generated by supplier marketing in the past two years.

But Cobalt’s Williams said that sometimes vendors can get things right before their customers catch up.

“Trying to understand who has the more accurate interpretation is mired in uncertainty. Sometimes the buyers call it right and vendors are simply too optimistic, and sometimes the reverse is true, the buyers just don’t get it yet,” he said.

Both survey groups are expecting small increases in research and development, IT and training.

“Vendors and buyers have a similar view to their prospective expenditure, suggesting that both have factored in the recession,” said Williams. “Encouragingly, overall cutbacks are not expected to be severe.”
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