IT suppliers are cautiously optimistic about growth returning in 2010.
Cisco CEO John Chambers is upbeat, despite sales sliding 13% and profits dropping 19% in the first quarter of fiscal year 2010. "We view the improving economic outlook, combined with solid execution on our growth strategy, as creating unparalleled opportunity to drive more value into the core of the network," he says.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says, "While we will see growth, we will not see recovery."
Iain Stephen, director of enterprise servers and storage for Hewlett-Packard (HP) UK and Ireland, says enterprises have reacted to the recession in one of three ways: 40% have become "very conservative", 40% are still trying to optimise their IT estate, and 20% are doing "dramatically innovative stuff".
But a survey of CIOs commissioned by BT revealed last week that eight out of 10 top UK CIOs are preparing to sweat their IT assets, doing more with less, to keep their business competitive.
Three-quarters of those surveyed acknowledged that IT has helped them fight the recession, but only four in 10 said investment in new technologies will be a key priority next year.
Chambers believes collaboration, virtualisation and video will drive productivity, and hence demand, in the next decade.
Cable & Wireless executive chairman John Pluthero concurs, and is repositioning the telco as the supplier of the network that will deliver those applications for global enterprises.
Business people, especially sales people, are naturally optimistic. But if the recovery stalls and more firms delay non-essential projects, there could be carnage among suppliers.