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IT Executives Predict Slow Recovery

Intense pressure to deliver positive ROI more quickly has affected IT budgets, strategies, and priorities, according to an AT&T study.

IT executives are preparing for an economic recovery in the first half of 2010, but it's likely to be tough sledding leading to the anticipated turnaround, according to the results of a study conducted by AT&T.

Released Wednesday, the study found that IT executives are under new and intense pressure to deliver positive return on investment results in half the time they were previously allowed.

The "Road to Growth" study found that ROI has become critical in the IT enterprise world with the result that the pressure to deliver favorable results has affected IT budgets, strategies, and priorities. One result is that companies are cutting back on longer-term projects that don't promise to deliver favorable returns quickly.

"U.S. companies are under added pressure to deliver, and IT investments are more critical than ever before," said Bill Archer, chief marketing officer of AT&T Business Solutions, in a statement. "From the study, we expect U.S. companies to come out of the recession leaner and more agile. Technologies that cut cost, reduce redundancies and loss, and improve efficiencies top the priorities list."

In the study, AT&T interviewed more than six dozen IT executives at multinational companies in the United States and Europe. All those interviewed worked for a U.S. firm or a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign company.

More than 80% of the IT executives interviewed cited cost cutting and improving productivity as top goals, noting that "improved collaboration with customers and partners" was extremely important, along with efforts to enhance workforce performance.

One interesting finding produced by the study is that IT executives aren't distinguishing between short-term and long-term IT strategies, with the result that U.S. companies are trimming the time of their long-term forecasting until after the recession ends.

Asked to list the factors that will have the most positive impact on business growth as the country prepares for an economic turnaround, the respondents cited business continuity and security solutions, enterprise mobility solutions, and Web delivery solutions.

The IT executives predicted that the United States and China would emerge first from the recession.

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