Though there have been signs of life in IT markets, everyone's asking when enterprise spending will return-or if it will.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told an audience in South Korea that it might not due to greater efficiencies forced upon companies in this economic downturn.
Generally there's the desire to spend less, but for greater impact.
Indeed, a recent survey by the Society for Information Management found this downturn a departure from previous ones in that management didn't just cut IT budgets and staff this time, but has looked to technology to help reduce the costs of doing business.
Gartner predicts IT spending to grow by just 3.3 percent in 2010. And since 2009 budgets were down roughly 5 percent, that won't even be back to pre-recession levels.
Said Richard Gordon, Gartner research VP:
"We're not looking for huge rebound in growth next year. But we will see some because many of the projects have been delayed and they can't be delayed indefinitely. but it's going to be 2011, 2012 before we see a return to more normal growth in IT spending."
He said there are signs that enterprise demand for hardware is starting to pick up, but predicted it will be mid-year before it shows any sustained growth.
Glancing at the Future
Tasos Tsolakis, CIO for outsourcing company Affiliated Computer Services, said companies were totally focused on short-term goals this year-basically just cost-cutting. He said they're now starting to look for ways to return to business growth.
In the Year-In-Review survey from CDW Corp. of 1,043 IT decision-makers, one in five expected to implement a discretionary IT project in 2010, signaling a bit of loosening in the purse strings.
But as Tsolakis said of his own company, projects undertaken this year had to have immediate, clear impact on the business-and a return on investment in roughly 12 months. That's been the norm, according to John Pironti, chief information risk strategist at Archer Technologies and a member of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) Certification Committee.
He also made these points: