For a number of years ESG has been conducting an annual IT spending survey to better understand users' buying intentions for the coming year. The ESG research team is busy putting the final touches on the 2012 IT Spending Intentions Survey, which should be ready at the end of January, but I've taken a look at some of the data that I can share with you now. In addition to determining whether organizations will be spending more or less, and on what technologies, the report also explores how organizations justify their IT purchases to the business. As one might expect, these considerations could change dramatically based on the macro-economic environment.
For example, in 2009, reducing operational and capital expenses topped the list, followed by business process improvement. However, over the last few years, as the capital markets opened up, reducing capital expenses has continued to fall from its second place spot in 2009 all the way to the fifth place in 2012. And while reducing operations expenses maintained the number one spot from 2009 - 2011, the gap between it and business process improvement has dwindled. In fact, in the 2012 survey, Business Process Improvement became the most important consideration for justifying IT purchases to business management teams.
This is reflective of organizations transforming their data centers to deliver more business value-the goal being to deploy IT solutions not because they make IT staffs' life easier, but because they can deliver real business value. How the solution can improve upon an existing business process to enable an organization to process more transactions, service more customers, or reduce a customer's wait time is becoming more important to business managers than how much money it will save.
This does not mean that pricing doesn't matter-it most certainly does-but it does point to the fact that IT is becoming much more closely aligned to the business. I have even started seeing the term Business Technology (BT - not sure how British Telecom feels about this) used instead of Information Technology (IT). Ultimately, this is good thing-by placing the business and business processes first, IT should be able to deliver real benefits and competitive advantages to the business. Vendors need to recognize this shift as well and demonstrate how its solutions will enable organizations to improve business processes as well as demonstrate its economic value and return on investment.
You can read Bob's other blog entries at Data Center Continuum.