IT Starts To Dust Off Shelved Projects

In a sign that a rebound in IT spending may be afoot, a study released Thursday found that at least some IT projects that have been shelved are back on companies' drawing boards.

The survey, based on telephone interviews with 1,400 CIOs at U.S. companies with more than 100 employees, was conducted by IT staffing firm Robert Half International (RHI)

Highest on the CIOs' list of priorities are software and hardware upgrades; 37 percent said they plan to implement new systems. Sixteen percent expect to implement both Web site design and virtualization projects this year, while 12 percent are planning collaboration projects, 11 percent plan to push ahead with cloud computing, and 9 percent expect to embark on enterprise social media efforts.

While the findings suggest that some organizations will be putting projects back into play, it also underscores the vast majority who are holding the line. Also, while RHI fielded the study to see what the results portend for IT hiring, that too looks tentative, said John Reed, the company's district president.

Those looking to dust off abandoned projects are more likely to turn to contract workers and consultants rather than hire full-time IT professionals and developers, Reed said in an interview. "The pace of full-time hiring has increased in 2010 compared to 2009. However, I would say it relates much more to the contract side," Reed said.

The greatest demand is for those with expertise in Microsoft SharePoint, SQL Server and .NET development, Reed said. Also in demand are Java developers, but that is more dependent on region, he said.

Asked if he has seen any evidence that IT shops will be more inclined to hire if President Obama's job stimulus proposals are approved by Congress, Reed said they might, particularly in organizations that have predetermined needs. "I think it will be a motivator," he said.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.