Looking beyond the complex economic climate of 2011, the latest CDW IT Monitor indicates that more than one-third of IT decision-makers are considering large IT investments in the next six months, led by 10 and four percentage point increases respectively from medium and large-size businesses since August.

Headed into 2012, nearly half of IT decision-makers believe that IT investments will be a top priority, with 36 percent of those stating that IT has now emerged as one of their organization’s most important initiatives. With 45 percent of IT decision-makers having reported delays in IT purchases this year, the top spending priorities for 2012 are PCs (60 percent), security (55 percent), cloud computing (50 percent), virtualization (41 percent) and mobility (39 percent).

  • Forty-six percent of IT decision-makers say IT will be a top priority at their organizations next year, and 37 percent are considering large IT investments in the next six months
  • Twenty percent of IT decision-makers anticipate hiring additional IT staff in the next six months, the highest percentage in almost a year.
  • Overall demand for software fell two percentage points since August led by federal government IT decision-makers, which reported a seven percentage point decline. Small and large businesses each reported a three percentage point drop since August.
  • The composite Six Month Growth Outlook, which measures longer-term anticipated investment, increased one point to 68 since August.

“There is little doubt that IT decision-makers continue to feel the need to make every IT investment count,” said Neal Campbell, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, CDW. “As 2012 draws near, many IT leaders are feeling optimistic as significant IT projects are getting top billing within their organizations. The survey findings demonstrate confidence among IT decision-makers that business-critical investments in hardware and IT solutions will be high priorities next year.”

CDW IT Monitor findings show that IT budgets will largely remain steady in the next six months, with only 13 percent of IT decision-makers expecting a budget reduction. Within the public sector, 31 percent of IT decision-makers in state government anticipate budget growth, a seven percentage point increase since August.

Six-Month Outlook for Hardware and IT Solutions Shows Gains, Software Demand Cools

Overall, 76 percent of corporate and government IT decision-makers anticipate making hardware purchases in the next six months. Within the corporate sector, anticipated hardware investments among medium and large-size businesses grew four and two percentage points respectively to 91 and 92 percent. In the public sector, demand for hardware investments at the local level of government grew four percentage points to 69 percent.

The long-term outlook for IT solutions increased slightly, as 43 percent of IT decision-makers anticipate making purchases in the next six months. Within the corporate sector, demand for IT solutions among medium and large-size businesses grew one and three percentage points to 52 and 54 percent respectively. Anticipated solutions spending among government IT decision-makers at the state level grew six percentage points to 40 percent, a 15 percent increase from six months earlier. In total, those planning to spend more on solutions, networking (57 percent), virtualization (56 percent), security (50 percent) and cloud computing (44 percent) were the top priorities.

Despite an anticipated increase in demand for hardware and IT solutions over the next six months, the overall outlook for software investment fell two percentage points since August. Software demand from federal government IT decision-makers fell seven percentage points to 84 percent. Overall, the public sector fell one percentage point to 74 percent, the lowest level since April 2009. Demand among IT decision-makers at small and large businesses fell three percentage points to 53 and 88 percent respectively.

Healthcare, Manufacturing and Retail Industries Fuel Corporate Sector Growth

During the next six months, IT decision-makers in the healthcare (53 percent), manufacturing (50 percent) and retail (46 percent) industries are most confident about IT budget increases. For the retail industry, this translated to a seven percentage point increase in anticipated hardware spend, a four percentage point increase in software purchases and a three percentage point increase in IT solutions. Anticipated IT solutions spend among manufacturing IT decision-makers grew 12 percentage points since August.

While overall anticipated spending among healthcare IT decision-makers slipped from August levels, a significant portion are still planning hardware (90 percent), software (96 percent) and solutions (59 percent) investments in the next six months.

Hiring Outlook Improves in Key Sectors, Industries

Overall, 20 percent of IT decision-makers are planning to hire staff in the next six months, a two percentage point increase since August. Leading this increase was state and federal government, which grew six and four percentage points respectively. Across the public sector, the six-month hiring outlook reached its highest level since August 2008.

The six-month hiring outlook grew two percentage points across the corporate sector, led by large corporations, which increased five percentage points since August. While hiring in the healthcare industry dropped 14 percentage points since August, increases in IT hiring within the manufacturing, professional services and retail industries led to overall job growth. Across sectors, demand for programmers, developers and engineers reached a 2011 high, as 62 percent of IT decision-makers planned on hiring for these positions in the next six months.

According to the CDW IT Monitor, IT decision-makers reported delaying a variety of IT purchases in 2011 with PCs and solutions/services cited most often. In 2012, IT decision-makers anticipate that top IT spending priorities will be PCs, security, cloud computing, virtualization and mobility.
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