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Survey: IT's key role in global economic recovery

According to a new survey from Accenture, information technology will play an important part in the global economic recovery. But will the wealth be spread out across more than just big vendors?

information technology is expected to play an important part in the global economic recovery, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

Some 72 percent of business and information technology executives say their "organizations place greater value on the IT function today than they did before the economic crisis" and that they "view IT as an important part of their economic recovery efforts," according to Accenture's Global Survey on IT Investments.

This is not an unfamiliar sentiment and is one we've heard from United States CIO Vivek Kundra as he's attempted to use IT to kick start a variety of programson the federal level that will set the pace for innovative new uses of technology across the globe.

The results of the Accenture survey are similar to last week's Goldman Sachs cautiously optimistic survey results that suggested IT spending would trend upward in 2010 and normalize to pre-recession levels with the majority of countries represented planning to increase investment selectively next year.

2010 IT spending
2010 IT spending Accenture

According to the survey, IT leaders have clearer priorities set than their business counterparts, with a strong focus on technologies that can better take advantage of existing infrastructure.

In terms of specific areas of investment, IT leaders have a much clearer idea than their business counterparts with regard to priorities for new projects over the next year. By far the most pressing priorities of IT chiefs are for server virtualization and consolidation (44 percent), whereas business managers in general rank virtualization as important as customer relationships and service. While acknowledging the importance of customer relationships and service, IT chiefs are also expecting significant funding for e-business (32 percent) and service-oriented architecture (SOA) projects (31 percent).

Virtualization is certainly no surprise, though I would also expect to see a greater focus on storage and data analysis/intelligence as part of efforts to make businesses more efficient. The fact that 31 percent of the survey audience are just getting to SOA is proof of both the service-oriented concept as well as a depressing reminder of how long it takes enterprises to adopt new ways of architecting systems.

In general any IT spending is good news, but, unlike the GS survey that revealed a number of potential winning vendors, the Accenture results are much more likely to benefit a few players, such as VMware, the clear leader in virtualization.

One of the big things to watch in 2010 is how much innovation finds its way into the enterprise--meaning at what point will IT shops move from broad concepts like virtual machines and SOA and start getting into edgier technologies including cloud services like Amazon EC2 and open source data analysis software like Hadoop. Let's hope that the return to IT spending broadens the market and doesn't just put more money in the hands of a few big players.