September 21, 2009

2009 Network Plans and Priorities Mid-year Update

  • Enterprise Remains Resilient in a Challenging Economy
  • Webtorials Editorial/Analyst Division
In November of 2008 it became apparent that the worsening global economy was going to have a major impact on many industries, including telecommunications. At the time, a survey of the Webtorials user base found that while most Users were expecting a moderate decrease in telecommunications budgets, they were also anticipating that networking capabilities would only increase in importance, even as funding failed to keep pace. At the end of June of 2009, a follow-up survey went out to the Webtorials community to determine how their outlook had changed due to current market conditions. As before, Users were the primary focus, but service providers and manufacturers provided their perspective as well.

The key findings of this analysis are:    
  • Survey respondents expect economic conditions to continue to have a negative impact on IT operations.
  • Respondents overwhelmingly expect budget allocations to decrease most for conferences requiring travel; staff salaries, telecommunications services, and local conference budget allocations are the only areas seen as more likely to stay the same than decrease. Telecommunications services is seen as the most likely area in which the budget allocations would increase.
  • Respondents think that the importance of IT and the desire for new IT capabilities will both increase, but that increased funding will not be allocated
Overall, the responses of those taking the survey at the end of June 2009 are very similar to those from November 2008, despite the eight intervening months. Perhaps the similar values of some economic metrics accounts for this - one imagines that a follow-up survey coinciding with the lowest values of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in mid-March might have found a great deal more pessimism!

Whatever the reason for the similar survey results, respondents still expect that the growth in importance of networking assets and capabilities that has occurred over the last thirty years will only continue, IT professionals will be asked to do more with fewer dollars over the next year. For most companies, then, a focus on efficient, cost-productive investments in networking assets, services, and personnel will be crucial to surviving the current market downturn and thriving in the eventual economic revival.

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