Gartner: Invest Now For The Recovery

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Use green IT, virtualisation and the cloud to prepare for future growth, says analyst firm

Companies should invest in efficient computing technologies now, said analyst firm Gartner yesterday, tentatively suggesting a recovery might come in 2010.

The firm did not predict an immediate end to the recession, but organisations should be ready when it comes, said Gartner analysts at a briefing in its EMEA headquarters in Egham, Surrey, yesterday.

UK organisations particularly are in danger of missing an opportunity, by focusing on reducing the costs of business operations, instead of increasing business efficiency and improving customer experiences, the firm warned.

“One of the key issues around the downturn is the lack of IT investment,” said Matthew Boon, Gartner managing vice president. “But we’re starting to see indications that we’re getting to the bottom of the downturn.” 

Although Gartner’s key spending forecasts for PC and server sales predict continued to decline in the region of just under 10 per cent each through to the end of this year, they also point to the beginning of a recovery in 2010, according to research carried out globally among large enterprise organisations this quarter. 

“Larger organisations especially may have had some knee-jerk reactions that reduced their IT spending, but I’m not hearing about IT projects being cancelled – only deferred,” Boon added.

Gartner said the survey revealed – out of its top 10 strategically important technologies for 2009 – that a triumvirate of cloud computing, green IT and virtualisation were where organisations were looking to begin investing again.

These three technology areas were resonating especially well in the UK because of the overlap between them, “If you invest in virtualisation to consolidate a data centre, then you are in the realms of green IT, where you’re not spending as much on power and cooling,” explained Boon. “While virtualisation is a key enabler of cloud computing – the three work very closely together.”

Boon advised end-user organisations to create an IT cost management team in order to keep IT spending plans under control. “Don’t take short-term spending decisions that may impact the business’s long-term strategy going forward,” he said.

“Now’s the time to start planning for a return to growth in six or 12 months time.”

Fellow senior research analyst, Rene Millman added that developments around cloud and virtualisation particularly meant organisations should recognise that existing distributed computing models were receding.

He said: “With the rise of netbooks, IT departments should consider whether they really need a costly paid OS [operating system], and with a browser, do you need an application infrastructure if it allows you to access cloud services?”