New survey shows IT spending up...or does it?

IT spending is apparently on the rise, according to a new survey, but the same survey suggests that its data may not be wholly reliable.

For those searching for an IT spending recovery in 2009, new data from an Information Systems Audit Control Association survey offers some reason for hope...and confusion.

On the positive side, the survey of 500 IT professionals suggests that 25 percent of enterprises surveyed will be investing through the downturn.

This is great, especially when coupled with other data from the survey that suggests:

  • Only 16 percent will make "sweeping cuts" in IT spending.
  • 14 percent will keep spending at the same rate.

This is good, right?

Well, it might be, except the survey, which was released Friday, also reveals a very disjointed IT decision-making process across the organizations surveyed. So, 66 percent of the organizations surveyed "do not share an understanding of IT value across different departments," only 51 percent even have a way to prioritize IT investments based on IT value, and barely 29 percent fully measure the value of their IT.

In other words, it is doubtful that this (or any) survey captures any particular organization's IT spending outlook. It is equally doubtful that vendors that actually deliver significant value will get the credit they deserve within enterprises, given this groups' inability to measure and then prioritize that value.

This isn't cause for despair, of course, but it may be reason to pause before celebrating any alleged uptick in IT spending based on CIO surveys, or any IT spending surveys. The CIOs probably don't know what is going on at the frontline of their organizations, and the frontline apparently doesn't coordinate very well, either.

This has worked to the advantage of open-source companies that find their way into organizations through the casual downloads of the frontline of enterprise developers and architects, but it doesn't bode particularly well for spreading the message of success (or failure) of those open-source evaluations and purchases throughout the wider organization.

Follow me on Twitter @mjasay.

About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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