As businesses continue to cope with tight budgets and overburdened IT staffs, streamlining operations has never been more important. As a result, business leaders are recognizing that their investment in technology will play an instrumental role in positioning their organizations for recovery and capturing new customers.
Managing operational costs is the top goal for IT leaders this year, according to the findings of CDW’s third annual year-in-review survey. One-half of IT decision-makers identify managing costs as their No. 1 business priority for 2010, coming in ahead of improving customer satisfaction (42 percent) and increasing market share (37 percent).
Many IT leaders are utilizing technology to strategically drive change at their companies. Technology offers a way for businesses to wring efficiencies from existing practices and boost productivity, which in turn improves customer satisfaction. Keeping customers happy is a surefire way to grow the business. It might be only small growth initially, but the hope is that it will spiral upward as the economy improves.
“Business leaders are gasping for growth after a long period of holding their breath, and they are expecting to increase the importance of IT in their post-recession approach,” according to Mark Raskino, research vice president and Gartner fellow.
In addition, the early findings of Gartner’s CEO and business executive survey show 44 percent of senior business leaders plan to increase IT investments in 2010. That forecast jibes with our own CDW IT Monitor, which finds that 47 percent of respondents expect their IT budgets to grow in the next six months. These positive results demonstrate that corporate leaders understand the critical role of IT.
Technology offers a way for businesses to wring efficiencies from existing practices and boost productivity.
As businesses look to devote more of their budgets to IT, which technologies are the most logical investments? Certainly, virtualization makes sense when the goal is operating efficiency. Thanks to its ability to boost efficiency of IT operations, virtualization is one technology certain to garner a return on investment. Instead of having rack after rack of servers to manage, IT can consolidate servers
to boost utilization.
Along with reducing total cost of ownership, virtualization delivers energy savings and other environmental benefits. Every virtualized server saves 7,000 kilowatts of electricity annually. That’s about $700 in energy costs, according to VMware. And for every server virtualized, 4 tons of carbon dioxide is eliminated. That’s the equivalent of removing one and a half cars from the roadways.
SOURCE: CDW IT Monitor
Other types of virtualization (such as desktop virtualization and storage virtualization), data de-duplication and desktop management can better optimize IT infrastructure and get the most from precious resources. Unified threat management appliances that do the job of several standalone products leave fewer devices to manage and power, while multifunction printers can help IT better control the cost of consumables. And mobile computing devices such as netbooks can enhance productivity at a fraction of the cost of notebooks by enabling employees to work out of the office.
With such technologies available to aid businesses in their regrowth, it’s no wonder business and IT leaders are optimistic about the possibilities for an economic recovery.
Maria Sullivan is vice president of business sales at CDW.