Vital Signs August 2006: Additional Results

Survey indicates security, disaster recovery top concerns of IT managers

In addition to the IT issues discussed in the feature on virtualization technology, the August Computerworld Vital Signs survey asked a range of other questions that relate to IT managers' jobs: What are your short-term spending priorities? What technologies hold the most promise? What skill sets need to be addressed in the next three months? In the following three pages, we review and analyze these additional survey results, with special attention devoted to statistically significant shifts in the data from the previous Vital Signs survey in May. The survey methodology is described on the last page.

Figure 1: What are the most critical technologies to your company today? (check all that apply)

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Data security/ privacy - 53.8%
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Anti-virus protection - 47.8%
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Disaster recovery/ continuity planning - 44.3%
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Servers - 43.0%
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E-mail/ groupware - 35.7%
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Networking equipment - 33.1%
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Web services - 32.5%
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Desktops - 30.3%
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Wireless/ mobile devices - 29.9%
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Operating systems - 29.3%
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Data management/ business analytics - 29.0%
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Laptops - 28.3%
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CRM - 27.1%
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ERP - 22.9%
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Storage-area networks - 19.4%
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Identity management - 18.8%
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Service-oriented architecture - 17.5%
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Content management tools - 14.0%
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E-business software - 13.4%
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Network-attached storage - 13.4%
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Open source - 10.5%
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RFID - 5.7%
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Other - 3.5%
Base: 314 respondents

Security-related technologies ranked as the most critical to the 314 people who responded to the Vital Signs survey in August (see Fig. 1). More than half (53.8%) cited data security/privacy, and 47.8% listed antivirus protection. These results were roughly in line with those from the same question for the previous survey, which was conducted in May.

However, there was a significant drop in disaster recovery/continuity planning. In May, this category ranked second, chosen by 54.3% of the respondents, but it dropped to third place in August, when it was chosen by 44.3% of respondents. One possible reason: Managers were more confident about avoiding hurricane-related outages. After hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, there was a burst of disaster recovery/business continuity planning that was still going strong in May. But this activity may have tapered off by August because some IT managers had actually gotten plans up and running and there was no further need to consider disaster recovery/business continuity planning a top concern. Moreover, the dire spring warnings of a severe 2006 Atlantic hurricane season from respected government forecasters did not pan out, reducing the urgency of getting disaster recovery plans into place at some IT shops.

Another notable shift in the survey results from May to August occurred in data management/business analytics, which was chosen by 44.7% of respondents in May but by just 29% of respondents in August. There is no obvious reason for the slide.

Figure 2: Which of the following technologies does your company expect to purchase in the next three months? [Please choose all that apply.]

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Servers - 40.4%
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Desktops - 34.4%
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Laptops - 33.8%
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Networking equipment - 26.1%
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Wireless/ mobile devices - 20.7%
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Disaster recovery/ continuity planning - 18.8%
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Operating systems - 18.8%
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Anti-virus protection - 16.9%
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Storage-area networks - 14.6%
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Web services - 11.8%
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Data management/ business analytics - 11.8%
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Identity management - 11.8%
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Business intelligence - 11.1%
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Network-attached storage - 11.1%
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CRM - 10.2%
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Content management tools - 10.2%
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Other - 8.6%
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E-mail/ groupware - 8.3%
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Service-oriented architecture - 8.0%
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E-business software - 8.0%
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ERP - 6.7%
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RFID - 5.4%

Base: 314 respondents

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