Tuesday, March 31, 2009

IT Groups Aware of Growing High Availability Needs Yet Unsure How To Meet Them

IT organizations know they need more reliable information systems, but 49 percent of them lack the budget for high availability technology, 40 percent don't understand what qualifies as high availability, and more than 80 percent can't quantify the cost of downtime to help make their case for bigger budgets, according to a recent survey by ITIC / Stratus Technologies. Key findings include:

  • 54 percent of IT managers and executives surveyed said more than two-thirds of their companies’ applications require the highest level of availability. Yet, 41 percent would be satisfied with conventional 99 to 99.9 percent availability for their most critical applications, which does not qualify as a high-availability or continuous-availability solution
  • 81 percent said the number of applications that demand high availability has increased in the past two-to-three years.
  • Of those who said they have been unable to meet service level agreements (SLAs), 72 percent can’t or don’t keep track of the cost and productivity losses created by downtime.

  • More information on the IT industry can be found at www.supportindustry.com

    Monday, March 30, 2009

    IDC Identifies Major Disconnect Between Customer IT Financing Requirements and Channel Partner Capabilities

    As IT channel providers search for opportunities amid volatile credit and capital markets, the gap between customer IT financing requirements and channel partner capabilities continues to widen. According to new research from IDC, success for channel providers (with $1 to $50 million in annual revenue) hinges on their ability to understand both the overall financial health of the channel as well as the availability of customer leasing and financing, inventory and receivables financing, and operationally oriented financial instruments, such as revolving lines of commercial credit and other business investment funding options.

    A recent IDC survey of 43 U.S.-based channel partners with an average of 1,000 employees completed during February 2009 produced a series of research findings that both reinforced preconceived notions of how market volatility affects channel providers as well as research findings that surprised IDC's analysts.

    --64% of large channel providers participating in the study reported that their customers have more interest in IT financing and leasing programs than 6 months ago. At the same time, an astonishing 40% of these same channel providers reported that they do not anticipate the need to introduce and educate their customers on the benefits of leasing and financing as a ways to procure needed IT resources

    --11% of channel partners surveyed reported that they do not have access to capital to continue "business as usual." When the findings are segmented to examine different sized resellers, nearly 20% of resellers with annual revenues less than $5 million reported they had inadequate access to capital

    --Quantifying the whipsaw effect volatile credit markets have had on IT leasing and financing sales programs (which were readily availability 18 months ago), nearly half of channel providers reported having more trouble getting customers financed in the current environment. This percentage rises to 73% among small partners.

    More information on the service and support industry can be found at www.supportindustry.com

    Sunday, March 29, 2009

    CIOs Can Cut 50 to 80 Percent of Communications Costs by Moving to an Anywhere IT Environment

    Yankee Group has demonstrated that CIOs and corporate IT departments of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can save more than 50 to 80 percent on costs related to corporate wireless, e-mail and messaging by moving to an Anywhere IT environment.

    Using Yankee Group as a model SMB, CTO Jeffrey Breen and Vice President Steve Hilton uncovered more than $150,000 of annual savings opportunities. The new series of reports, "CIO’s Guide to Cost Cutting" advise that SMBs:

    Move to the cloud: Moving from traditional Lotus or Microsoft premises-based e-mail application to a cloud-based messaging solution will save a staggering 83 percent (about $64,000) in the first year. During a three-year period, the savings amounts to 88 percent and can total more than $200,000.

    Stop reimbursing individual-liable cell phone bills: With corporate wireless phone plans, SMBs stand to save $96,000, or 47 percent in the first year by replacing unwieldy individual-liable plans with a single new corporate liable plan.

    Anywhere IT is information technology that allows any user to work from any location, over any device, with the best possible experience that the device and network allow. Anywhere IT moves complexity into the cloud and expands IT into non-traditional areas, driving dramatic growth of the information communications and technology marketplace from $2.2 trillion worldwide today to $4 trillion in just seven years.

    More information on the IT industry can be found at www.supportindustry.com.

    Thursday, March 26, 2009

    IT Management Students Aiming for Boardroom, Poll Reveals

    Students of the IT Management for Business (ITMB) degree have big ambitions for their future IT careers. In a survey commissioned by leading software provider CA and e-skills UK, 80% of those who took part said they would like to become chief information officers, chief executives or
    The international nature of technology holds great appeal. More than a quarter of students - 28% of men and 27% of women - are hoping to spend time working in mainland Europe; while 25% of males set their sights on North America and 15% of females are interested in experience in Asia or Australia.

    Students are also attracted by the business relevance of technology. Among their top five aspirations, 90% of students want to solve business problems with IT, 89% want to help make businesses more efficient, and 78% want to use IT to increase innovation.

    The students were very positive about the skills and knowledge they were developing as part of their degree: 72% are "confident or very confident" of getting a job after they graduate.

    When questioned on communication preferences, just 0.5% of respondents showed a liking for the Twitter social networking and micro-blogging service, while 33% identified email as a firm favorite, followed by the humble phone at 20% and Facebook at 19%.

    Key findings include:
    --80% of ITMB Students Want CIO and CEO Posts
    --90% are Hoping to Spend Time Abroad
    --72% are "Confident or Very Confident" of Getting a Job

    More information on the IT industry can be found at www.supportindustry.com

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    Consumer Technology Sales Fall Nearly 4 Percent in 2008

    Consumer technology revenue declined 4 percent in 2008 to $112.3 billion, according to leading market research company The NPD Group’s consumer tracking service. The decline follows a 4.5 percent gain in 2007.

    Notebook PCs and LCD TVs were the two largest sales categories in 2008 and the claim for the top spot came pretty close. Notebook PCs generated $20.2 billion, but LCD TV sales weren’t far behind. Sales increased 37 percent to $19.9 billion. Desktop PCs, inkjet cartridges, and MP3 players rounded out the top 5.

    Best Buy, with its in-store and online sales, once again grabbed the most consumer technology dollars that consumers spent in 2008. Walmart remained in second place. Dell came in third and the now defunct Circuit City’s combined sales put it in the number four spot. Apple made a move into the top 5, just edging out Staples.

    Hewlett-Packard took the top spot among the OEMs. Second place was a virtual tie between Apple, Sony, and Dell. Samsung came in fifth.

    Dell moving into retail in 2008 had an impact on non-retail sales. Non-retail sales dropped 6 percent in 2008, but if you take out Dell, sales increased 6 percent. Online only retailers had a good year, growing 37 percent to $4.8 billion and retailer Web site sales were also up, gaining almost 3 percent in revenue to $ 7.6 billion. Retail brick and mortar sales declined 3 percent to $83 billion.

    More information on the service and support industry can be found at www.supportindustry.com

    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    Gartner Highlights Seven Great Concerns for CEOs in 2009

    With CEOs facing unprecedented challenges ahead as businesses struggle with the realities of dealing with the economic downturn, Gartner, Inc. has identified the seven greatest concerns for CEOs in 2009.

    CEO Issue One: Restructuring

    Restructuring is impacting companies in a number of ways from organizational restructuring in the form of layoffs, financial restructuring through deleveraging of financial structure, corporate restructuring via entity consolidation, and finally industry restructuring through the failure and survival of different players and business models.

    As the restructuring plan unfolds, CIOs must be prepared to clear the table of current plans and start again, deliver significant cost reduction, deliver significant headcount reduction, cancel some major projects no longer aligned with survival and ensure that all outsourcing partners are viable. At the same time, they will need to deal with unexpected acquisitions and divestitures, manage higher risk taking on projects, work with lower procedural obstacles and stronger CIO powers, and build contingency plans for significant suppliers.

    CEO Issue Two: Can't Write Off Fast Enough

    The urgent issue of the CEO is to pare the corporate efforts down to those that are central to the company's short-term survival while not killing off its future. CIOs should expect to support peaks of public-relations activity in response to press interest in the condition of the company, as well as travel at short notice to perform due diligence on potential acquisitions. Both talent raids and layoffs will place more pressure on the human resources department and its systems, as will sourcing based on financial reengineering, both of which will add to the IT workload. Above all, CIOs should be aware that restructuring may not be readily apparent, but when it is ready, it will proceed quickly, and a "SWAT team" should be identified to react and respond swiftly.

    CEO Issue Three: Loss of Business and Governmental Trust

    The institutions that were once counted on to safeguard the economy seem to have failed, and the lack of transparency in the economic system has been exposed. There has been a subsequent loss of trust, as well, amid fears that other unknowns are awaiting. Trust is an intangible element in business but is crucial to transact business. IT can help improve transparency in the way business is done through reputation management, e-discovery and business intelligence. Gartner also expects a strengthening of "data driven" management culture as the risks of moving forward with insufficient data become far less acceptable.

    CEO Issue Four: Globalization Instability

    Until recently, the onward advance of globalization has been unquestionable. However, the disparity of growth between developed and emerging nations is driving tensions as policy differences become more apparent. At the same time, rapid and large changes in strategies for growth, risk and currency are in need of reappraisal as long-term assumptions about fuel prices and supply logistics change. The keyword for the IT agenda in the face of this high level of uncertainty and risk is flexibility. CIOs need to ensure that their IT operations are ready for the challenges and shifts that are sure to emerge.

    CEO Issue Five: New Major Regulation Coming

    With the current recession and the crisis of business confidence, CEOs should expect new governmental oversight of their business dealings. Although it is too early to tell where major regulation will be headed, there are some actions that CIOs need to take to ensure they are not caught behind the curve in their industry. These include staying deeply connected to the ebbs and flows of industry regulation and paying attention to tax policy as taxes are another form of regulatory control.

    CEO Issue Six: Government as the New Emerging Market

    The recession has shifted the growth dynamics of the global economy away from private industry to government. For example, the U.S. Congress recently passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which commits $787 billion to the U.S. economy. This has implications for business and IT, not only in major shifts in key industries, but also in how IT is managed. CIOs should expect their organizations, which may never have sold products or services to a government agency, to retune processes for the sensitivities of government with detailed procedures to avoid fraud and unfairness in bidding for contracts.

    CEO Issue Seven: Green Is Not Going Away

    While Gartner does not expect green to necessarily be "top of mind" in 2009, it will still have a place at the table as long as CEOs believe it is a useful part of reducing the break-even point of the business. IT vendors and CIOs need to review policies and practices to reflect changing views and to focus on improving environmental sustainability. IT operations probably represent the biggest environmental impact for enterprises that have low total environmental impact, so the CIO may well take the lead on this issue.

    More information on the service and support industry can be found at www.supportindustry.com

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    IT Highly Valued, But Still Not a Major Contributor to Innovation

    Eighty-seven percent of senior executives believe that information technology (IT) is important to their organization, according to a global survey commissioned by the IT Governance Institute (ITGI). However, more than half do not feel that IT is an important contributor to innovation, underlining an opportunity for IT to increase its value as a strategic partner. Additionally, nearly half of all organizations do not measure the value they are achieving from IT.

    The ITGI study revealed that 59 percent do not view IT's contribution to innovation as important or very important, although a significant majority recognize IT as a major contributor in its traditional strongholds: efficiency and effectiveness. Only a third of enterprises rely on their IT department to provide information about potential business opportunities enabled by new technologies, a key benefit of innovation.

    Executives reported that the organization's culture and a lack of the right skill base are among the top barriers to achieving value. ITGI also found that executives do not believe that IT managers are communicating new opportunities to the business -- this finding was in contrast to a 2008 study of IT managers, who reported that they provide the business with frequent information. A solution, according to ITGI, is to include the chief information officer (CIO) on the executive team -- 40 percent of respondents do not currently do this or do not have a CIO.

    Based on the challenges that executives identified in the survey, ITGI offers the following advice:

    --Take ownership of IT governance and assume overall accountability over IT.
    --Make the CIO reporting line as direct as possible to the top executive decision body.
    --Use external advisors, when necessary, as a source of knowledge and guidance.
    --Pay more attention to the potential for innovation IT can offer.
    --Start measuring the value that IT brings -- or does not bring -- to the enterprise.

    More information on the service and support industry can be found at www.supportindustry.com

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Four Identity & Access Management Predictions for 2009 and Beyond

    Gartner, Inc. has revealed its key predictions for identity & access management (IAM) between 2009 and 2011. Analysts have identified forward-looking assumptions around smart-card authentication, identity-aware networks, hosted IAM and out-of-band (OOB) authentication.

    By 2011, hosted IAM and IAM as a service will account for 20 per cent of IAM revenue. Solution sets related to intelligence, administration, verification and access are evolving from software-centric platform delivery models to composite services models. These reduce the costs of implementation and use and prepare for a more-mature production-centric approach to delivering IAM as a service. Markets for first-generation hosted and managed IAM services address relatively mature implementations. They enable customers to focus their technical planning and delivery on less-mature feature sets such as access and intelligence.

    A growing percentage of the revenue realized by IAM vendors and service providers will be made possible by the next step in the IAM maturity model, toward hosted IAM and IAM as a service. Gartner recommends that existing IAM solutions users evaluate service-based options for extending the solutions, rather than significantly upgrading those solutions. Those that have not deployed a significant IAM solution should include service and appliance options in their review to gauge the progress of IAM maturity and its suitability.

    Through 2011, 20 per cent of smart-card authentication projects will be abandoned and 30 per cent scaled back in favor of lower-cost, lower-assurance authentication methods. The use of smart cards with public-key credentials is generally regarded as a high-assurance authentication method. However, provisioning and managing smart cards and the necessary desktop infrastructure are relatively expensive. A risk-based approach may force some organizations to implement two or more authentication methods, which are likely to include smart cards. This will drive the adoption of versatile authentication servers (VASs), which provide a single infrastructure for multiple methods and a single integration point for the local network and heterogeneous downstream applications.

    Gartner recommends that organizations with a free choice of authentication methods for local access should take a scenario-based approach to selecting new authentication methods, based on risk, end-user needs and total cost of ownership (TCO).

    By 2011, 30 per cent of large corporate networks will become ‘identity aware’ by controlling access to some resources via user-based policies. Most corporate networks are anonymous, because they forward packets based on internet protocol (IP) addresses, rather than users' identities. Adding identity awareness to networks to monitor user behavior and enforce access based on a user's identity is identity-aware networking (IAN), which blocks access to resources that a user is not authorized to access. Some solutions also provide audit trails that satisfy auditors.

    Gartner recommends that network managers and others responsible for IAM projects develop strategies for making networks identity aware. They must ensure that all new network infrastructure and network access control equipment purchases have the capability to support this strategy.

    By 2010, approximately 15 per cent of global organizations storing or processing sensitive customer data will use OOB authentication for high-risk transactions. The security measures that most financial institutions and other service providers have in place are proving inadequate in the face of new cyber-crime attacks against customer accounts. Man-in-the-browser (MITB) Trojan attacks in particular are rendering most installed stronger user authentication measures ineffective so organizations are turning to OOB user authentication and transaction verification for high-risk customer transactions.

    Most global businesses that implement OOB authentication and transaction verification will use customer-owned landline and mobile phones as the ”something you hold” factor. Users must understand and trust OOB calls or SMS messages delivered to their phones and service providers must ensure that they have reliable working phone numbers (and backup numbers) for their customers. Another problem is that Trojan horses and other forms of malware now prevalent on PCs will become common on smartphones in the next few years, which may render OOB authentication methods that use smartphones insecure and ineffective.

    More information on the service and support industry can be found at www.Supportindustry.com

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    Financial crisis to remove $40bn from global retail banking technology market

    The global banking technology market will decline by almost 2% in 2009, according to a new report by independent market analyst Datamonitor. The report says this will be concentrated in European and North American markets, led by the UK, where banking technology spend will have the greatest fall, declining -- almost 7%. Datamonitor expects overall technology growth to remain depressed compared to pre-crisis forecasts up to 2012, removing over $40bn of what would have been IT spending from the banking sector, over next five years.

    Datamonitor’s report finds that while IT budgets are under pressure, requirements are different to the last IT downturn cycle (after dot com crash), where technology was particularly targeted for cost reduction. Indeed for banks post financial crisis, IT intensity is likely to increase; this is the ratio of IT cost to overall operating cost base. Technology spend will reduce, but the need to obtain synergies from recent mergers and drive lower costs/ higher productivity elsewhere will protect budgets to some degree.

    Banks are realizing the crisis is likely to drive a structural shift in the banking sector and future operating income growth and that this will eventually require a corresponding structural shift in the bank structures and organizational size. Immediate cost pressures will constrain in the short-term, but this will need transformation and IT investment.

    Many areas of IT spending will therefore remain resilient. IT spend in the branch will be maintained as banks look to technology to maintain service levels after headcount reduction, with banking operations (e.g. account administration/ loans processing) growing in IT investment focus to support greater efficiency and drive lower cost base. Similarly, technology spend to support risk management and compliance will be maintained, however, banks will be looking to re-use existing systems as far as possible, so immediate technology vendor opportunity will be more subdued than many expect.
    More information on the IT industry can be found at www.supportindustry.com

    Monday, March 9, 2009

    Communications, High-Tech Companies Give Away One-Quarter of Their Technical Service Support Due to Limited Customer Insight

    Providers of communications and high-tech products and services give away, on average, 28 percent of the technical service and support they deliver to business customers each year, because they lack insight into what customers are entitled to receive, Accenture research has found.

    The research consisted of two simultaneously administered online global surveys, one for providers and the other for customers. It explored the state of business customer service in the communications services, communications equipment, electronics and high-tech industries, querying more than 650 senior executives from 11 countries.

    The research uncovered another sizable problem. Nearly 30 percent of business customers surveyed are considering switching to another provider because they are dissatisfied with the quality of customer service they receive. With their current providers each of these customers spends, on average, $15 million on products and customer service per year. The research also revealed that 70 percent of business customers said that it's possible for a provider to create an experience that "locks in" their future business. At the same time, 70 percent of providers said that improving the overall customer experience and customer satisfaction ranks as their main business priority for 2009.

    When asked why they are challenged in delivering superior service, the three reasons providers cited most often were their lack of supporting technology (selected by 30 percent of respondents), a dearth of trained resources (29 percent), and non-existent definitions of support processes (22 percent). According to providers and customers, the quality and competence of service agents, along with their ability to address customer concerns on the first phone call or e-mail, rank as the two most important factors in delivering a superior, differentiated service experience.

    Respondents were asked to explain, in their own words, what they consider to be the main characteristics of a superior, differentiated customer experience. Their responses fell into several categories, the top three of which were: knowledgeable staff and accessible support (32 percent); efficient and timely problem resolution (26 percent); and proactive, personalized solutions (21 percent).

    Another key finding of the research: providers estimate they will earn nearly one-third of their future customer service and support revenue by 2013 from service and support offerings that do not currently exist.

    The research also discovered that, compared with customers in Europe or Asia, those in North America are more loyal to their providers and less likely to have switched providers or considered doing so. Furthermore, the research found that if North American communications and high-tech companies deliver a distinguished and superior customer experience, they have a 20 percent better chance than European and Asian companies of generating more customer service revenues from the same customers.

    To build the kind of service and support capabilities that can help them achieve high performance during and after the current economic crisis, Accenture recommends six actions communications and high-tech companies should take. They are:

    --Enhance the content on the service and support portal;

    --Invest more in training and developing customer service agents;

    --Enhance the knowledge of each provider's installed base;

    --Improve first-call or email resolution;

    --Improve the overall customer experience of self-service, not just reduce costs;

    --Implement analytical and diagnostic tools.
    More information on the service and support industry can be found at www.supportindustry.com

    Friday, March 6, 2009

    Cloud Computing Is More Than Just Hype; Worldwide IT Spending On Cloud Services Expected To Reach US$42 Billion By 2012

    According to IDC, worldwide IT spending on cloud services will grow almost threefold, reaching US$42 billion, by 2012. As the cloud computing model offers a much cheaper way for businesses to acquire and use IT, IDC expects its adoption to be amplified by the cost-cutting mantra of most organizations today.

    In a recent IDC survey conducted with 696 IT executives and CIOs across Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) to gather their views, understanding, current usage and planned usage of cloud computing, it was found that 11% of the respondents are already using cloud-based solutions. A further 41% of the respondents indicated that they are either evaluating cloud solutions for use in their businesses, or already piloting cloud solutions. When asked about their opinion of the current state of cloud computing, 17% of the respondents stated that although cloud computing is very promising, there are currently not enough services available to make it compelling.

    For IT vendors to be successful in the cloud market, they will have to address users’ cost concerns. The survey also revealed that more than 50% of the respondents indicated cost cutting as the key driver behind the adoption of cloud computing. However, it is also important to note that supplying low-cost services alone will not guarantee success, as users are also indicating that any cloud solution they buy must offer competitive pricing, offer Service Level Agreement (SLAs) and offer complete solutions.

    More information on the service and support industry can be found at www.supportindustry.com

    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    CIOs Report on Hiring Expectations for Second Quarter: Help Desk/Technical Support and Networking to Experience the Most Growth, Survey Finds

    Eight percent of chief information officers (CIOs) anticipate adding information technology (IT) personnel in the second quarter of 2009 and 6 percent plan staff reductions in the next three months, according to the latest Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. The net 2 percent hiring increase compares with a net 8 percent increase projected last quarter. The majority of respondents, 83 percent, plan to maintain current staffing levels.

    The IT Hiring Index and Skills Report is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis.

    Key Findings

    -- Help desk/technical support and networking are the job areas experiencing the most growth.

    -- Desktop support is the technical skill set most in demand, overtaking network administration, which led as the top skill for the past two quarters.

    -- One in five IT executives who plan to add staff will hire a mix offull-time and contract workers.

    -- Reduced IT budgets were cited as the primary factor for reductions in IT personnel.

    -- CIOs in the Mountain region are most optimistic about hiring activity.

    Twenty-one percent of CIOs who plan to add staff will hire a mix of full-time and project workers, while 8 percent plan to add contract workers. One-quarter of executives cited corporate growth as the primary factor driving hiring demand, followed by IT department expansion at 9 percent. Increased workloads and the need for systems upgrades tied for third, each receiving 8 percent of the response.

    CIOs cited reduced IT budgets (40 percent) and the impact of the financial crisis on their company or industry (21 percent) as the reasons for reductions in IT personnel during the second quarter. IT projects being put on hold and companywide layoffs followed, each receiving 18 percent of the response.

    Skills in Demand

    When asked which technical skill sets were most in demand in their IT departments, 67 percent of CIOs cited desktop support. Network administration (LAN, WAN) and Windows administration followed closely, with 65 percent and 64 percent of the response, respectively. (Note: CIOs were allowed multiple responses.)

    Help desk/technical support and networking tied as the job areas experiencing the most growth, each cited by 15 percent of CIOs. Internet/intranet development received 10 percent of the response.

    Industries Hiring

    CIOs in the business services and professional services sectors are most optimistic about hiring in the upcoming quarter. Ten percent of business services executives interviewed plan to add staff and 3 percent will reduce the size of their IT workforce, for a net 7 percent increase. In the professional services sector, 11 percent of CIOs anticipate hiring more staff and 5 percent expect staff reductions, for a net 6 percent increase.

    More information on the service and support industry can be found at www.SupportIndustry.com

    Monday, March 2, 2009

    IDC Forecasts Worldwide IT Spending Growth of 0.5% in 2009

    The continued erosion of the global economy, including the prospect of negative GDP growth in many major countries, has led IDC to update its forecast for worldwide IT spending in 2009. The IDC Black Book now forecasts worldwide IT spending will grow by just 0.5% year over year in 2009 in constant currency, down from a November 2008 forecast of 2.6% growth. If recent exchange rate trends continue, this will translate into a significant decline in revenues for U.S.-based IT suppliers.

    The greatest impact will be felt in global hardware markets, where overall spending growth will be -- 3.6% this year, led by a steep decline in outlays for servers, PCs, and printers/MFPs. In contrast, worldwide spending on software and IT services are each expected to grow 3.4% in 2009, down from 4.6% and 3.7% growth respectively in the previous forecast. Worldwide IT spending in 2009 will be $1.44 trillion.

    In the United States, IDC is now forecasting year-over-year growth of 0.1% in overall IT spending, down from the November forecast of 0.9% growth. Paralleling the worldwide market, hardware will experience a sharp decline in spending with -- 16% growth while software and IT services spending will grow by 4% and 3% respectively. U.S. IT spending will total nearly $491 billion in 2009.

    Other highlights from the new IDC Black Book include the following:

    --Overall IT spending in Western Europe is now expected to grow 0.1% year over year in 2009, down from the November forecast of 1.2% growth. IDC expects IT spending in Germany and the United Kingdom to remain essentially flat in 2009, while France and Italy will experience negative growth.

    --The forecast for IT spending growth in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) has also been reduced, with overall growth now expected to be 1.4%, down from the earlier forecast of 4% growth. IT spending in China is expected to grow 6.5%, down from 9.1%, and India's growth has been reduced to 5.7% from 10%.

    --Japan will experience year-over-year IT spending growth of 1.8% in 2009, down from the previous forecast of 1.0% growth.

    --Latin America will enjoy gains in all three market segments, driving overall IT spending to 4% growth in 2009, down from the November forecast of 8%. IT spending in Brazil will grow by 6% in 2009, down somewhat from the 9% forecast in November.

    --In Central and Eastern Europe, IT spending will grow -- 7.5% in 2009 as a result of worsening economic assumptions and business climate volatility.

    --The Middle East & Africa is expected to continue on a growth trajectory of almost 8% in 2009, down slightly from the November forecast of 8.5% growth.

    More information on the IT industry can be found at www.supportindustry.com