If there were any lessons to be learned for midmarket IT leaders in 2009, it surely was the need to be agile. With business conditions changing daily and the number of available IT resources dwindling, things were tough all over.
But as we move further into 2010, it looks like business conditions are starting to change for the better, which brings with it a whole other set of challenges. Clearly, the business, and the amount of data that needs to be managed, is likely to grow. In fact, a survey we conducted recently of 138 senior midmarket IT executives finds that 28 percent said they expect data to grow faster than 25 percent; while 69 percent said data would grow at a rate of 1 to 25 percent.
As the amount of data grows so too does the importance of data governance. A full 30 percent said data governance would be a much higher priority in 2010, while another 37 percent said it would be a somewhat higher priority. Feelings about compliance requirements were less clear-cut, with only 41 percent saying that compliance issues had a positive impact on the business and IT, while an equal number described compliance as a mixed bag of good and ill. The remaining 18 percent were more negative toward compliance.
In another economic climate, huge amounts of data growth would be a precursor to IT hiring. But the majority of the survey respondents said they intend to keep staff levels the same or hire a few more. Only 37 percent said they would be hiring more people, but 83 percent said they were either moderately or keenly interested in IT process automation.
Closely related to keeping costs in line, 46 percent said they would be increasing their spending on cloud computing services in 2010, while 56 percent said they would increase spending on software-as-a-service. In terms of describing their software environment, 53 percent said they heavily customize their software or develop their own.
On the whole, the majority of midmarket IT executives surveyed appeared to be pretty resilient in the wake of the recent economic downturn. A full 72 percent described their IT organization as being above average or sophisticated, while 65 percent said that the business executives at their company would say that IT adds value to the business.
The good news is that 82 percent said they were optimistic about the future of IT in the enterprise, even if only 59 percent reported that their IT budgets will increase in 2010. These and other midmarket IT issues such as where IT budgets in the midmarket are being allocated and what emerging technologies are top of mind for these IT executives will be at the heart of an upcoming IT Business Edge conference next month in Orlando, Fla. that IT executives can register to attend here.