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Seized with doubt: CDW IT Monitor reflects buyer uncertainty

Has there ever been an economist willing to say we’re in a recession while the recession is actually happening? My own personal barometer of the economy (my husband who is a contractor) continues to have a very bizarre spring. After months of denial and a sort of lag factor, it appears that IT buyers are more nervous, too.

The CDW IT Monitor, which the reseller publishes on a bi-monthly basis, shows that slightly fewer businesses are planning to increase their IT budgets in the second half of 2008. That would be 50 percent vs. 54 percent in February. The data show that 8 percent are planning to cut their IT spending, compared with 6 percent.

CDW derives its monitor report from an online survey of about 1,000 IT decision maker reflecting all sizes of business and government agencies. You can spend some time with the complete findings here.

Generally speaking, there was less shake-up among the bigger respondents, which CDW postulates is due to the fact that budgets have already been approved (although who’s to say they can’t be cut!) CDW notes that at midsize companies, a sub-index tracking planned IT investment slipped 7 points from February to 70. There was also a 10 percent decline in the number of businesses that said they would hire IT staff in the next six months; 21 percent reported plans to hire, off 10 percent.

The good news is that the strategic value that survey respondents place on technology actually improved slightly: 83 percent reported said “yes” to notion that IT is “effective in achieving corporate mission and goals.” That was up 1 percentage point from 83 percent in February. So, that means demonstrating how technology can solve a business need is the way to make the case for a sale. Have at it.

Heather Clancy is a technology journalist and business communications consultant with SWOT Management Group. She can be reached at hclancy@swotmg.com.

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