IT departments may soon get the green light on previously delayed software or hardware upgrades, according to a recent survey by IT staffing and recruitment firm Robert Half Technology, a division of Robert Half International Co.
The survey, based on interviews with 270 CIOs across Canada at companies with 100 or more employees, asked executives which IT projects placed on hold in 2009 due to economic restraints they are planning to implement post-recession. Allowed to give multiple responses, CIOs were provided with seven answers to choose from.
The most popular category was software or hardware upgrades, with 30 per cent of CIOs indicating plans to implement these types of projects. Virtualization followed at 16 per cent, and Web site design ranked third at 11 per cent.
Internal collaboration tools took the fourth slot at seven per cent. Cloud computing and company-branded social media sites tied for fifth with five per cent each. The “other” category was selected by one per cent of the CIOs surveyed.
The resurgence of postponed IT projects signals good news for out-of-work IT professionals, according to Igor Abramovitch, director of technology services at Robert Half Technology in Toronto. “As IT projects get back to the forefront from the backburner, that means that budgets are slowly coming back and that also means that staffing levels hopefully will have to rise as well,” he said.
Abramovitch said upcoming software and hardware upgrades will likely affect IT departments in terms of technical support, network infrastructure and software application support. Business analyst and project manager positions may also be affected in terms of managing the implementations and upgrades, he said.
“As individual companies come out of what they consider a recessionary period and start demonstrating continued revenue and improved profitability, some of the pressure on some companies is going to reduce and you are going to see some restoration of employment,” said Andy Woyzbun, lead analyst at Info-Tech Research Group Ltd.
But a large upswing in hiring is unlikely, according to Woyzbun. “We are in a situation where organizations have really optimized the use of their existing staffing, so we would be actually very surprised if these initiatives that are re-awakened create any significant amount of additional employment,” he said.
Woyzbun said it’s not surprising that CIOs are bringing software and hardware upgrades back to the table. “One of the easiest ways for companies to cut back on their expenses was in fact on some of the capital projects, so they would defer upgrading their servers or their storage if they were under financial duress … they still at some point are going to have to upgrade,” he said.