Growing confidence amongst IT professionals, IDC claims

5 Mar 2004

An improving business situation, combined with greater management acceptance of the value of IT, has resulted in increased confidence among European CIOs (chief information officers), IDC’s 2004 Systems Survey reports.

IDC surveyed 1,000 IT professionals responsible for their companies’ infrastructures in six countries in Europe and found that IT directors expressed a more positive outlook for their spending over the next 12 months – up an average of 2pc on last year. The survey found that confidence was greater amongst CIOs in smaller organisations than large organisations.

Of the six countries surveyed the UK, Germany, and Sweden were most positive about their investment prospects. France, Spain, and Italy were less positive.

Greater optimism was by tempered with uncertainty over which investments would produce the greatest benefit. Purchasers were ignorant or sceptical about the alleged benefits of some newer products and form factors. Blade servers, tablet PCs, and appliance servers were subject to this scepticism.

There were some interesting patterns of server operating system usage. Of new Linux servers purchased in 2003, 48pc were used for new application deployment, compared with about 31pc for both Windows and Unix.

Server consolidation remained an important trend, with 27pc of organizations, up from 20pc in 2003, currently operating a consolidation strategy or having proposed a strategy.

Customers considered price, support, and trustworthiness to be the key criteria for selecting suppliers. Technology leadership, account management, and references were less important.

“This set of results confirms IDC’s long-standing view that 2004 should be a year of growth for computer systems in Europe,” said Chris Ingle, group consultant in IDC’s EMEA Systems Group. “The vendors that will be able to take advantage of this will be those that can convince customers that the many new technology propositions being brought to market have a place in an already complex IT infrastructure. As this survey shows, technology buyers are unconvinced by many propositions that are being promoted by vendors.”

Andrew Brown, manager of IDC’s Mobile Computing service, said: “While a significant proportion of technology buyers are aware of high-speed mobile data services, a much smaller proportion claim to understand 3G services. Even these customers are not keen to use the additional capacity of this technology to integrate with their corporate systems. If these technologies are to grow quickly they will need to demonstrate clear benefits to the corporate user of this technology, as well as the IT strategist.”

By John Kennedy