Good News All Around...


Spiceworks CompTIAWinter is research season in the IT industry with several reports hitting the streets, full of insights and information on what’s happening now

and what’s expected for the near future. The goal of all these reports is to deliver insights that IT business owners/managers can use to plan the coming year.

Spiceworksreleased its third annual State of IT Budget Report promising a “microscopic view of North American IT spending” for the coming year, whileCompTIApushed out its IT Industry Outlook 2014.

Spiceworks is a professional network for the IT industry – kind of like an IT-oriented version of LinkedIn, only with a lot more focus on making meaningful business connections and providing additional services, such as monitoring applications – and has angled in on mining the industry insights of the 650,000 people signed up for the Voice of IT program, to provide information that can help people with business planning.

According to Kathryn Pribish, Voice of IT Program Manager, there is a general feeling of cautious optimism throughout the IT community this year, which is translating into increased IT investment. Indeed, almost 80 percent of the 450 IT pros who responded to the survey say their budgets will remain the same or increase this year.

SpiceWorks’ State of IT Budget Report Highlights:

  • Budgets are up. IT pros plan to spend an average of $302,000 on IT products and services in 2014. Last year this number was $192,000. (Although last year it did not include Enterprise. This year it does.)
  • 79 percent of the 450 IT pros surveyed say their IT budgets will remain the same or increase during the year.
  • 57 percent expect their organization’s revenue to increase.
  • 45 percent expect headcount to rise.
  • Hardware will claim 45 percent of the budget, with desktops, networking equipment, laptops, and servers ranking as the top four anticipated hardware buys.
  • Software will take 31 percent of the budget. With Windows XP down to its last few breaths, it’s no surprise that OS purchases top the list of upcoming software investments, followed by productivity software, virtualization and security.
  • Cloud is still up in the air, with cloud services accounting for only 14 percent of the budget. The majority of IT pros planning to invest in a cloud solution will continue to purchase an existing service. The most popular potential cloud purchases are Web hosting, email hosting, online backup, and content filtering.

Pribish suggests that the XP end of life is driving a lot of this investment, while hosted and cloud offerings are getting some attention but only gradually.

CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2014, which surveyed 525 IT companies in late December, largely echoes the findings of the Spiceworks survey, suggesting that the global IT industry will grow at 3.4 percent this year, with US growth slightly slower at 3 percent. Those numbers are both slightly better than the overall economic predictions, which are 3 and 2.5 percent respectively.

Of particular note however, is CompTIA’s quarterly IT Industry Business Confidence Index, which increased 2.1 percentage points in Q1 2014, to 60.2 on a 100-point scale. The forward-looking component of the index projects a gain of 2.2 points, which if realized, would mark a record high in the five-plus year history of the survey. The index is based on IT executives’ opinions of the U.S. economy, the IT industry and their own company.

According to Tim Herbert, CompTIA’s vice president of research, a range of technologies – cloud computing, mobile apps, big data and others – have gained a bigger foothold with customers over the past two years, though rising industry business confidence is offset to some degree by margin pressures in key product categories.

As far as employment is concerned, 41 percent of IT companies plan to add investments technical staff with medium-sized firms being the most aggressive head-hunters.

CompTIA’s 12 Trends to Watch over the next 12 months

Macro Trends

  1. Technology becomes a core competency for more businesses.
  2. Mass customization gets more sophisticated.
  3. Processes and workflow get a makeover.
  4. Technology is increasingly embraced as the remote control of life.

Technology Trends

  1. Cloud wars intensify.
  2. Diverse devices flood the market.
  3. Big data has a little sibling.
  4. Software’s appetite is not satisfied.

IT Channel Trends

  1. When it comes to your channel business, it’s OK to stay in two lanes.
  2. Time to rebrand the “trusted advisor.”
  3. Back to basics: Reinvesting in technical expertise.
  4. Channel dynamics: Partner or competitor?

Do these findings mesh with your feelings on the coming year? Let us knowon our FB page.