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CIO surveys murdering IT budgets

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Now might be a good time for CIO Magazine to stop bugging chief information officers and IT managers about their IT spending plans. Its surveys are killing us.

Back in March, when the magazine did a survey of IT shops just as the global economy started looking a little ill, only 17 per cent of the CIOs polled said they expected to make cuts in their 2008 budgets. By July, when the magazine did another poll, 26 per cent of those surveyed said they would be making cuts. And now, in a survey conducted between October 17 and October 22, CIO Magazine has driven CIOs over the edge, with 40 per cent now saying they will cut IT budgets this year. (Perhaps starting with the telecom budget - or maybe they'll just put in CallerID.)

According to the latest survey results, which you can read here and which are based on interviews with 243 CIOs, another 34 per cent of those asked questions by CIO Magazine have been freaked out enough to lock up the IT spending brakes and are now committed to keeping their 2008 budgets the same as they were in 2007. This obviously bodes ill for all of the parasites that live off of continually growing IT expenditures. That means you. And me too.

In the October survey, IT managers were disturbed enough about all of the questions about the health of the economy and their spending plans that 72 per cent of those polled said they have postponed or will postpone "discretionary projects" - as if such a thing ever existed in the data center. (It doesn't exist in the boardroom, as this financial mess certainly shows). Some 51 per cent of those polled said they felt pressured by all of the concern with their budgets to put a "financial contingency plan" in place.

Where did they place it? CIO Magazine didn't say. But we can safely assume where they pulled it out of. (And spare me the lecture about ending a sentence with a preposition).

According to the survey, 46 per cent of CIOs who were cornered into answering questions - and thereby confronted with a cold dose of reality - said they were not going to fill open positions in their IT organization and another 13 per cent said they would start doing this soon. While 66 per cent haven't made job cuts yet, the remaining third of those polled have either done it already within the past six months or will do it in the next six. Heaven knows what will happen to the IT job market if CIO Magazine is allowed to do a survey in November.

Listen up, Monster, Dice, Robert Half, and all you other interested IT job placement people. You might want to buy a lot of ads in CIO Magazine real soon before this gets even uglier.

The same goes for you, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and so on. Of the 243 CIOs polled in October, 23 per cent said they have delayed technology acquisitions, and another 35 per cent said they plan to because of "unfavorable financing terms or conditions from a vendor or lending institution." Another 14 per cent have killed IT deals and another 10 per cent plan to as well. And most disturbingly, more than a third of CIOs expect that spending decisions will be kicked up to the CEO and CFO. And that means the dreaded golf delay, which is particularly problematic in temperate zones.

Somebody, please cut CIO Magazine's phone lines. This has to stop. ®

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