UK companies' investments in technology in the past year were driven by concerns over software licensing, data management and the need to raise productivity, research by Computer Weekly has revealed.
The latest CIO index survey of 145 UK IT directors found that automated software asset tracking topped the list of UK businesses' technology investments, with 34% of respondents reporting full deployment in 2007.
According to the research, software asset tracking was implemented by 21% of respondents in part of their organisation, and 19% were conducting pilot studies and 14% were reviewing the potential benefit of doing so. Only 12% had not looked at automated software asset tracking, but Wesche said there would always be laggards in any technology adoption.
"The complexity of licensing agreements from many software suppliers led to a demand by IT directors for tools to enable them to know software licensing was up to date in their organisations," said Peter Wesche, research director of IT asset management and procurement at Gartner Research.
Stephen Way, division IT director at manufacturer Johnson Matthey, said most of the big software suppliers were becoming very strict on licensing and were policing the matter "aggressively".
"Software asset tracking is important to ensure organisations stay on the right side of the law, but also provides visibility and assurance that everyone is using the correct version of software," he said.
The research also revealed an increase in the number of companies implementing companywide mobile strategies. The proportion of companies deploying mobile technologies across their organisations to boost productivity and efficiency leaped up to 29% from 10% in 2006, when 52% said they were using mobile technology only in some departments.
Richard King, IT director at Procter & Gamble, said enterprise-wide deployment did not always make economic sense. "We have deployed mobile technologies on a needs basis only where there is real business benefit. Carte blanche deployment can be very expensive and not necessarily the best use of funds," he said.
As the cost of running mobile technologies continues to fall, King said there has been a gradual increase in the number of good business cases for deployment.
The third largest technology priority for business in the past year was consolidation of servers. The CIO Index showed 28% of CIOs had consolidated servers across their organisation in 2007, 40% had done so at a departmental level, 14% were conducting pilots, and 15% were conducting reviews. Only 3% said they were not considering server consolidation at all.
This trend looks set to continue in 2008 as many companies seek to reclaim server room space, reduce expenditure on hardware, and cut power costs for running and cooling large datacentres.
These strategies are being used by most organisations as they struggle to find ways of dealing with the explosion in the amount of data being generated and stored by the business, Way said, which is also reflected by the fact that 18% of CIOs in the survey have consolidated servers across their organisations.
The findings are supported by Gartner, which identified service and storage technologies as the third most important technology issue for companies in 2008, up from ninth position in 2006.
"Organisations need to fight what Gartner calls the information glut created by the data being generated by various systems such as those for business intelligence, customer relationship management, data mining, and security threat tracking," Wesche said.