In the November CIO Magazine Tech Poll, information technology (IT) spending projections dipped slightly as CIO's predict spending growth of 8.4 percent over the next 12 months, compared to last month's 8.7 percent. The top spending priorities of CIO's indicate that security software, storage systems and data networking continue to be leading concerns. The poll also determines that the IT labor market continues to improve with the number of respondents reporting IT help as plentiful falling to the smallest number (18.3 percent) in three years. In this month's special question, CIOs also report that they consider 2004 to be an average year (48.9 percent) over a good year (38.4 percent).

When asked about spending in eight specific IT categories, the average number of panelists planning to increase spending over the next 12 months fell to 43.4 percent in November, from 45.1 percent in October. Those planning to decrease spending rose to 13.5 percent, from 12.9 percent in October. Results for security software soften in this month's poll, with 53.2 percent of respondents planning to increase spending, versus a high of 63.5 percent in October. However this segment continues to be the strongest sector in the poll. Spending on storage systems also continues to be a top priority, with 51.9 percent of respondents planning to increase spending in this category (up from 49.6 percent in October). Data networking and computer hardware also were top priorities, with 49.8 percent and 49.5 percent of respondents, respectively, planning on increasing spending in this month's poll.

IT compensation costs (including salaries, benefits, and bonuses excluding stock options) rose an average of 5.7 percent in the 12 months ending in November, a significant increase from 4.6 percent in October. Of respondents, 18.3 percent report that IT professionals are plentiful, down from 24.5 percent a month earlier.

Overall, panelists expect to generate 12 percent of their revenue from Internet activity (B2B2C) over the next 12 months, compared to 10.3 percent during the previous 12 months. This is down from last month's levels of 12.1 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively.

In the November poll, CIO's were asked two special questions. The first question asked respondents what their overall view on IT was in 2004. Nearly half of CIOs viewed 2004 as an average year (48.9 percent), while 38.4 percent believe 2004 was a good year for IT. Very few panelists viewed 2004 as a terrible year (9.1 percent) or a great year (3.7 percent).

The second question focused on corporate plans for upgrading the PC installed base. Forty percent of respondents (40.6 percent), plan to upgrade their PC installed base in less than 3 years, while 42 percent are on a three- to four-year upgrade schedule. The remainder, (15.5 percent) have a current upgrade schedule of more than four years.

Demographics: In the November poll, there were 220 responses with very large firms with over 5,000 employees representing 18 percent of the results. A broad cross-section of industries is represented, including technology services (13 percent), non-computer/communications related manufacturing (12 percent), finance (12 percent), state or local government (8 percent), health care (13 percent) and wholesale and retail distribution (6 percent).


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