Tech Pros Show Flickers Of Optimism

Of those software developers surveyed, 62% think the U.S. government's economic stimulus programs will have a positive impact.

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, Senior Writer, InformationWeek

March 24, 2009

3 Min Read

Two new surveys conducted by separate firms reveal that IT managers and software application developers are seeing some signs of hope related to the economy.

In the case of software developers, 62% think the U.S. government's economic stimulus programs will have a positive impact on the software sector within two years, according to a survey of 259 software developers at Fortune 1000 and similar companies.

That survey, conducted by PreEmptive Solutions, a provider of tools to analyze and track the use of software programs, also seems to indicate that as a bunch, software developers appear to be more optimistic about their own employers than what's likely happening in terms of cutbacks at those companies.

"There seems to be a blissful ignorance" among many software developers, said Gabriel Torok, CEO at PreEmptive Solutions. Nearly half -- 47% -- of the software developers PreEmptive surveyed said "no cost cutting" was taking place at their companies.

Torok said that's hard to believe, considering that many of the surveyed developers work in industries, including financial services and manufacturing, that have been greatly impacted by the recession.

"There's still a disconnect between IT and the business, and software developers not knowing as much about the business as they should," he said.

When asked where their companies were reducing spending, 31% of those surveyed said cuts were being made in R&D; 31% in technology; 25% in marketing; 26% in executive/management staff; and 25% in sales staff.

Speaking of cutbacks, a separate survey conducted in February of 400 IT managers in the United States and Europe by market research firm TNS Global found the IT cup "half full."

That's because "less than half" of the respondents said their companies have cut 2009 IT budgets, said TNS. Meanwhile, more than a third of IT managers reported that IT spending is flat, while 16% said IT spending was actually expected to rise in 2009.

What's being spared the knife? TNS said in a statement that, relative to other technology areas, storage hardware spending will fare well in 2009, with 31% of respondents increasing their budgets, and more than four in 10 holding their budgets flat compared with 2008.

TNS also found that rather than "simply cutting costs," about 40% of respondents said they're allocating budget toward "significant new IT projects that will support business growth."

What's not faring as well? TNS said 56% of respondents have cut their consulting and professional services budgets. Among those who have seen decreases in those areas, 65% said the cuts have been 30% or more, and nearly a third have seen cuts over 50%.

Also, while 43% of the IT managers reported they've cut their personnel budgets, the size of those cuts is smaller than for products and services.

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About the Author(s)

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Senior Writer, InformationWeek

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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