IT report identifies key issues

DAVID CANTON - For the London Free Press - April 23, 2005 Read this on Canoe

London's Info-Tech Research Group recently released its 2005 IT Priorities report to its paid membership of more than 25,000 worldwide.

The report identifies and analyses critical issues facing today's information technology decision-makers in mid-sized enterprises.

This report can provide insight into your business such as whether your IT department's performance measures up to those of other mid-sized enterprises or what your IT department should be focusing on in terms of technology investment.

As the basis for the report, Info-Tech surveyed more than 1,400 companies in Canada, the U.S, U.K. and other countries. It analysed the data and come up with some predictions, conclusions and recommendations it hopes will help IT leaders make better decisions.

The most shocking of the findings is that "95 per cent of IT shops are not delivering some number of projects on time or to the full satisfaction of the business executive."

The top three reasons cited for these project failures are unrealistic time frames, lack of staff and poorly defined scope.

The report also finds there is a misalignment of IT and business in many mid-size enterprises. It seems mid-sized businesses do not spend as much time as Fortune 1,000 businesses in ensuring their IT departments are aligned with the specific goals and demands of their businesses.

These companies also do not make sure their IT departments spend enough time with senior corporate managers.

There may be a correlation between these two findings of failure and misalignment.

In its 50-page report, Info-Tech discusses IT budget levels by industry and various IT priorities for this year. Research indicates security is at the top of the list, followed by end-user support, disaster recovery, networks, IT governance and project management.

Items such as websites and application development were further down the list.

The report indicates the top priorities of IT decision-makers are about people and not as much about the technology. Executive support and skilled staff ended up at the top of the list, while hardware and software ended up near the bottom.

Storage is at the top of the IT investment priorities list. The report sets out numerous key drivers of the increased need for storage and suggests IT decision-makers in mid-sized companies should consider new technologies such as SANs (Storage Area Networks) and NAS (Network-Attached Storage) when looking to increase their storage capacities.

VoIP (Voice over IP) is at the top of the list for emerging technologies that IT departments are planning to implement in the next three years or so. According to Info-Tech's report, this type of technology has already been implemented in almost one-quarter of the businesses surveyed and is of great interest to those companies considering heavy investment this year.

The report sets out a series of predictions for IT in 2005. IT spending in mid-sized companies is predicted to grow this year. Markets for storage, VoIP and SANs will also grow strongly.

Depending on the industry, the outsourcing of certain IT services is predicted to grow over the next three years.

To find out more about the report or Info-Tech, visit www.infotech.com.