With the recession, U.S. companies are reprioritizing their IT goals, according to a new report published by AT&T. For companies that provide business services, the study details which customer needs are gaining and losing priority.
The AT&T survey also revealed that most IT executives at U.S. and European companies are expecting to pull out of the recession by the end of 2010, though some of the more optimistic execs – many of them in the U.S. – believe the global economy might start rebounding as early as the first half of next year.
U.S. execs have shifted their focus largely to projects that will provide a return on investment (ROI) within months, while European execs seem to be holding steady with plans, according to a report from AT&T based on a survey of 77 IT executives, all of whom work at billion-dollar multinational corporations.
AT&T’s 2009 “Road to Growth” study found that for U.S. execs, their time horizon to achieve ROI narrowed by 50 percent. One CIO stated that the added pressure has forced the company to focus on IT projects that give at least 100 percent ROI in 12 months; otherwise, the project(s) get dropped.
Cost cutting and improving productivity are now the top priorities.
“U.S. companies are under added pressure to deliver, and IT investments are more critical than ever before,” said Bill Archer, chief marketing officer for AT&T Business Solutions. “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.”
AT&T chose to put a positive spin on the phenomenon, but it is equally possible that U.S. companies are failing to invest in technologies that might give them a long-term competitive advantage.
AT&T reports that business continuity & security solutions have the highest positive impact: IT investments and priorities will go toward lowering cost, reducing risks and improving productivity and efficiency. The study found that “business continuity and security solutions” will have the biggest positive impact on business growth as U.S. companies prepare for an economic turnaround. This is closely followed by “enterprise mobility solutions” and “Web delivery solutions.” Areas of IT investment that are expected to have a high to moderate impact on businesses are “unified communications services” and “hosted solutions.”
The company said these findings are in line with its own annual study on business continuity and disaster recovery preparedness for U.S. businesses in the private sector, conducted in June.
The dramatic rise in social networking and mobility trends is presenting new challenges to companies’ network security, disaster planning and business continuity programs. Businesses are stepping up their technology investment and efforts to meet these challenges, despite the economy. IT executives indicated in the Road to Growth study that they expect to make the biggest financial investments in business continuity and security solutions and hosted solutions in the next nine months.
The consensus between European and U.S. IT executives is that the two largest global economies – the United States and China – will emerge first from the current recession.
AT&T’s full Road to Growth study is available here.