European IT directors focused on the basics, says IDC

The basics of IT infrastructure - security, systems administration and data management - are the top priorities for European IT...

The basics of IT infrastructure - security, systems administration and data management - are the top priorities for European IT directors, according to new research from analyst firm IDC.

The survey, based on responses from 1,000 business users across six countries in western Europe, found that companies are focusing on maintaining existing systems, rather than investing in newer technologies, such as wireless devices.

While there continues to be a great deal of interest in wireless solutions, security is a critical issue hindering the adoption of mobile devices by companies, the survey found.

"Mobile computing and wireless remain of importance to IT decision makers, but security concerns present a barrier to translating evaluation into procurement, particularly with regard to mobile devices and wireless local area network deployments,” said Andrew Brown, mobile computing analyst at IDC.

Management concern over the value of IT investment or executing on investment plans was cited as the biggest barrier to investment by 30% of respondents. Cost and difficulties in understanding technology were the next commonly cited barriers.

"IT professionals are telling us they need help from IT suppliers in showing the value of technology," said Chris Ingle, group consultant for IDC's systems group. "While corporate spending is still there - most organisations surveyed were holding their spending at 2002 levels or increasing spending on IT - it is the justification of that spending which is crucial and which can be lacking."

The IDC survey also found that:

  • Microsoft Windows 98 or earlier operating systems is running on 60% of desktops and notebooks.
  • Linux is considered to be an alternative to Microsoft on the desktop by 30% of larger businesses; however, very few are considering installing Linux themselves over the next year.
  • Awareness of servers based on Intel's Itanium processor has increased from 42% in 2002's survey to 67% this year. Roughly one third of the respondents are running, evaluating, or might evaluate these systems, while another third expressed no interest in Itanium.
  • The majority of notebook purchases due to be made over the next two years are expected to be new purchases, or to replace existing notebooks, rather than replacing desktop machines.
  • Almost 60% of respondents are not interested in purchasing tablet PCs and almost 25% are not aware of the tablet PC offering, with only a very small percentage expressing a desire to purchase tablet PCs in 2003.
  • Support and compatibility issues are among the key concerns associated with the adoption of mobile devices.

Separate research from analyst firm Gartner released yesterday (29 April) revealed that demand for PDAs is falling rapidly. Shipments totalled 2.8 million units in the first quarter of 2003, an 11.1% decline from the same period last year, when worldwide PDA shipments totalled 3.2 million, Gartner said.

Palm held onto the top spot in the worldwide rankings with 32.8% of PDA shipments. Although Palm shipped more that twice the units of its nearest competitor, its market share continued to decline. Hewlett-Packard remained second with 16% of the market, followed by Sony, with market share of 13.3%.

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