Senior Asian information technology (IT) executives are generally cool, calm and cautious about the impact of the global economic downturn, according to newly-released research by Asia’s leading Enterprise IT magazine MIS Asia.
When asked to describe the impact of the current economic difficulties on their organisations more than 70 per cent of Asian ICT executives preferred the options moderate (59.9 per cent) or marginal (11.2 per cent), rather than serious (28.3 per cent).
More than half the Asia Pacific decision makers surveyed also said they planned to either maintain 2008 levels of IT spending, or even increase it in 2009. The biggest intended increase in spending from the previous year was on security and risk management, IT governance and compliance, plus staff development.
The top four IT initiatives where executives plan to increase spending in 2009 were IT security, virtualisation, business intelligence and IT service management (ITSM).
Asia’s senior IT executives also expect to give priority to investing in new application development and implementation, followed by hardware infrastructure, and then Network Infrastructure.
Only 20 per cent plan to cut IT staff numbers. Their main intended actions in response to the economic downturn include negotiating harder with vendors (about 61 per cent), deferring hardware and software purchases (about 56 per cent), delaying new projects (about 48 per cent) and restructuring IT service agreements (about 36 per cent).
The IT Nation 2009 Tech Trends and Enterprise Priorities research was carried by Fairfax Business Research (FBR) on behalf of MIS Asia magazine.
The research was done from November 2008 to January 2009 — at the start of the economic crisis of confidence – and canvassed about 10,000 senior executive subscribers across the Asia Pacific region. More than 70 per cent of the responses came from enterprises with more than 500 employees.
MIS Asia Editor Ross O. Storey said the latest IT Nation findings showed that IT executives in the Asia Pacific were reasonably sanguine about the financial environment.
“Asked what action they will take because of the economic downturn, most answers were to do with delaying, deferring or negotiating harder, rather than sweeping across the board staff or cost cuts,” Storey said.
“Most senior IT executives said they expected the impact of the financial crisis on their enterprises to be moderate or marginal.”
Peter Hind, the analyst with more than 20 years of IT industry experience, who analysed the IT Nation findings, said that, another noticeable finding was that small to medium enterprises or SMEs (i.e businesses with between 100 and 500 staff) and medium sized organisations (i.e. those with between 500 and 1000 staff) were more upbeat about the year ahead than small businesses (under 100 staff) or large enterprises (over 1000 staff).
“This probably indicates that middle sized organisations are less likely to be held captive to the trials and tribulations of the share market,” Hind said. “They probably have some reserves of resources that will offer them some capability to ride through the downturn, at least for 2009.”