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Will the IT economy go south in 2008?

I’m supposed to write some insightful list of predictions this time of year. Once I figure out what to say, I’ll get right on that. But first, I wanted to write about some survey results released a few days ago by uber-solution provider CDW.

The data, part of a report called the CDW IT Monitor , suggests that it will be harder for VARs and systems integrators to convince their customers to increase their spending plans in 2008. This will be especially true of small businesses, apparently, which isn’t great news for any solution provider focused predominantly on this sector. Only 38 percent of all the respondents (1,072 IT decision makers) plan to add more money to their IT budgets during the year. Breaking it down demographically, only 26 of small businesses intend to spend more compared with 46 percent of midsize companies and 43 percent of large companies.

One reason could be that small businesses aren’t having their expectations met: About 52 percent of them reported that technology had helped improve financial performance or efficiency. This compares with 69 percent of midsize companies and 71 percent of larger enterprises. (Incidentally, government agencies were even happier: Close to 80 percent of the decision makers report that they have realized an appreciable improvement in their financial bottom line as a result of implementing technology.
So, does this spell trouble for VARs and resellers betting big on small business? I’m choosing to look at things a little differently. Sure, it probably means that it may be tougher to sell your client on a brand-new, end-to-ind unified communications system. But things with a very clear return on investment potential—one you can demonstrate very clearly—may go a long way toward boosting both small business IT budgets AND their happiness with what they’re getting.

Heck, you’re out there living this every day. Why don’t you tell me? E-mail your observations, predictions, comments and so forth to Heather Clancy at Meanwhile, I’ll watch for the next CDW monitor, which is due out in a couple of months.

Heather Clancy is a high-tech business journalist who has been watching comings and goings in the high-tech channel for more than 18 years.

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Excellent introductory article for anyone interested in application management, Jennifer. I would recommend business leaders start off with a free trial so they can get their hands on APM before shelling out any budget money. IBM offers a free trial for SmartCloud monitoring on their website: