The year 2000 was a banner time for IT spending and staff workloads, according to the “2001 Worldwide IT Benchmark and Trends Report” from Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group Inc. And even economic slowdowns and dot-com heart failures won’t completely cap the trend in the coming months.

The report, which covers topics ranging from spending to staffing to productivity, states that IT spending grew 8.7 percent in 2000. Report author and research fellow Howard Rubin says that unless we see some more bad economic surprises, Meta predicts a 10 percent increase in overall spending in 2001. But, Rubin notes, that won’t be the case for every business sector. “We’re finding it happening on a sector-by-sector basis,” he says. Industries such as banking and finance that have been on a spending roll will begin to cut back slightly, while sectors such as media and manufacturing continue to increase spending, he predicts.

The report also indicates that IT managers are getting more time for their buck from employees. Working hours increased 36 percent in the United States in 2000, though Rubin says some of that increase is because of improved reporting combined with a change in what is defined as work-such as on-the-job training. This doesn’t mean, however, that employees will start living at the office. Rubin says the situation will stabilize be-fore the IT shop and the sweatshop be-come indistinguishable.

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