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Reg Reader Studies The great thing about working in the IT industry is its unpredictability and the speed of change – isn’t it? Well not according to readers of the Register who turn out to be a remarkably conservative bunch. The Register and Quocirca have recently rerun their IT industry barometer 10 months after it was first run in December 2004.

Almost 5,000 readers responded to the rerun survey in October 2005, and the profile of respondents was almost identical to that of December 2004 – around 40 per cent from enterprises and 60 per cent from SMBs and 50 per cent of respondents working in the IT industry and 50 per cent not. The most remarkable thing is how little their views have changed.

The lack of change makes the headline findings all the more interesting. The biggest of which is an improvement about the perceived security of Microsoft products. However, this finding is most likely to be a reflection of businesses catching up with Microsoft as more and more organisations roll out Windows XP (Service Pack 2) and Windows Server 2003 on to their desktop and servers, both of which have proved to be products with fewer security vulnerabilities than their predecessors.

Other shifts are small and predictable – moving in the expected direction albeit slowly. There is growing confidence in the use of wireless LANs and other technologies that increase employee mobility. Acceptance of the ascendancy of Voice over IP (VoIP) is increasing, although perhaps more slowly even than Reg readers themselves thought it would happen – in December 2004 12.5 per cent reported that they were well on the way to using 100 per cent VoIP, but by October 2005 the figure actually reporting 100 per cent usage has risen by barely three per cent.

When it comes to hosted computing there is an increasing acceptance of this as an option; fewer Reg readers think that hosting is just another flash in the pan. For some this translates into something they might do but others still consider it a crazy idea. There was virtually no move in Reg readers’ views in other areas like open source, service oriented architectures, software development, growth in data volumes and job security.

In fact, hidden in this data is the fact that IT industry itself is ahead of its customers in the use of service oriented architectures, wireless LANs, mobile data access, hosted computing, VoIP and open source. That the industry eats its own dog food is good news and not surprising, but it also means that its customers are even more conservative than the high level results suggest.

If this rerun of the barometer teaches us one thing it is that businesses are focussed on doing the things that matter to them, delivering value to their customers and other stake holders. IT has a role to play in this, but it is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Organisations will seek to innovate in IT when it enhances their broader goals of their business. The IT vendors who do well in 2006 and beyond will be those who understand the real world of their customers rather then the fantasy world they are prone to invent for themselves.

You can get the full report right here (PDF).

Copyright © 2005,

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