IDC: tumult in IT market subsiding

The corporate knife that slashed staffing levels and budgets throughout the IT world a couple of years ago appears to have been put back in its sheath, says IDC.

Each year the research company conducts the annual Forecast for Management Survey of Australian and New Zealand IT departments to gauge changes in the local IT marketplace over the past 12 months.

While last year’s survey showed a drop in IT investment in 2001 from 2.99 per cent to 2.5 per cent of turnover, this year’s survey of 70 Kiwi CIOs showed the amount being spent on IT last year had remained steady at 2.5 per cent.

“People were anticipating further drops but that didn’t materialize,” says IDC Australia and New Zealand user programs manager Peter Hind (pictured).

As well as a cut in IT investment, the use of contractors also dropped in 2001. This too has stabilized, says Hind. In the 2001 survey contractors made up 15.5 per cent of the New Zealand IT department but in 2002 that dropped to two per cent. This has picked up to seven per cent.

The survey’s questions about technology adoption found that security has made a big leap in the mindshare of CIOs.

In 2002 security was ranked 14th out of the top 25 issues for CIOs but this year it was fourth. Meanwhile, migrating to new hardware and software has dropped from being the second biggest issue on the CIO agenda in 2002 to sixth.

Retaining and recruiting staff dropped from 15th place to 24th. In terms of staff turnover, the mean had dropped from a mean of 14 per cent turnover in 2000 to 6 per cent.

This year’s survey also revealed a gradual decrease in the use of application developers.

In the 1996 survey application developers comprised 26 per cent of the NZ IT department but by 2003 this has dropped to 18 per cent.

Respondents were asked about their intentions towards open source operating systems. Hind says in New Zealand about 55 per cent of respondents had no plan to deploy an open source OS. When asked the major reason why not, 40 per cent said they’d gone with NT or Windows 2000 or cited a lack of in-house skill sets with Linux.

“But then you could say 45 per cent have plans — although we didn’t ask what time frame.”

Hind will deliver the results of the research at IDC Directions 2003, which takes place in Auckland on May 1.