IT Budgets Expected To Increase for 2008

In a straw poll conducted at CDW's Annual Partner Summit yesterday, 43 percent of the 266 IT executives polled believe their budgets for 2008 will be higher than those of 2007, with another 9 percent saying they believe their budgets will be much higher.

The poll also showed a shift in how IT shops are communicating the value of technology to business executives. For instance, when asked to list the top reason why customers purchase products, services and solutions, only 13 percent cited technology leadership, while 83 percent cited business benefits including: increased operational efficiency (38 percent), building or expanding on a competitive advantage (16 percent) and better supporting expansion or revenues growth (9 percent).

Many IT industry executives also expressed difficulties in educating their business executives on how to best harness technology, according to the poll results. When asked to list the biggest obstacles to increasing their IT budgets, 25 percent attributed it to a lack of executive vision in how to use IT for business advantage, while 12 percent said it was a lack of understanding and support on the part of senior executives.

This communication gap between business and IT executives also surfaced when IT execs were asked to name the biggest IT mistakes made by companies. Thirty-two percent of respondents said a lack of vision for applying technology to solve business problems was the biggest IT mistake, with another 15 percent citing insufficient business cases for IT investment.

Microsoft Tries Giving It Away
Hoping to get a little more competitive in both the enterprise and Web search markets, Microsoft announced plans to give away a brand-new product called Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express. The product is designed to allow users to view a collection of search results spanning external Internet-based databases as well as internal computer systems.

Not everything associated with the technology is free (this is Microsoft, after all). The company also plans to deliver a paid version that will be the functional equivalent of the free product. Company officials said they'll announce pricing for that product when it gets closer to launch some time next year.

The move appears to back up Microsoft's promise to fight Google's dominance in the enterprise search area. In October, Google delivered an update to its enterprise search appliance that permits "social" search. The search giant has also invested in enterprise search, as have much smaller firms such as Autonomy, Fast Search & Transfer and Endeca.

Microsoft will deliver a test version of the Express, or free, product this week with plans to also deliver the finished version early next year.

Microsoft Finally Gets Windows Live Offerings Out the Door
For the first time, Microsoft has made available for download all Windows Live Services from its Windows Live Dashboard. According to officials, the company is planning a marketing campaign for Windows Live across the breadth of its Web properties. They expect to get some 10 billion impressions for that campaign in the just the next 60 days.

Microsoft, of course, is hoping the Windows Live-based services and products will allow the company to compete with archrival Google in the online advertising market where the latter has had lavish success.

Redmond will section out the Windows Live products and services into two sets: services such as Windows Live Hotmail, and applications -- such as Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Photo Gallery -- that users can choose to install on their desktop systems.

Not all of the Windows Live offerings that were in beta until this week will be made available in their final version. Two of the services, including Windows Live SkyDrive, a service for file storage, and Windows Live Calendar, need more thorough beta testing and will be released later.

Mailbag: Google at the Pump, More
Lafe reported yesterday on Google's latest venture -- to equip gas pumps with its online mapping service. Here's what some of you had to say about the move:

This is stupidest thing I've heard in a long time. Betcha Rand McNally loves Google. Some day, we won't need to think at all; Google with think for us...and make a profit.

I'm not liking it. I can see a couple of things right off the bat -- like pulling into a gas station to get gas and having all the pumps in use. Now, instead of having to wait for people to finish pumping, I'm going to have to wait while some guy locates a restaurant, hotel, etc. And he won't be able to do that while the gas is pumping because a lot of gas stations take the latch off to hold the handle down unattended for safety reasons. So now you have to wait until you're finished pumping to look up your information and, living in the Northeast where the winters can get pretty cold, the last thing I want to do is stand out in the cold any longer than I have to.

The second thing is that the mapping stations will be fine while they're new, but within a few years, I can see most of them being broke, out of paper, etc. How many times have you pulled up to a gas pump and it's so disgusting that you don't even want to touch it to put in your credit card or to pick your octane level?

The third thing is that with the cost of GPS units coming down and the proliferation of navigation systems in cars, I don't feel that this would be that great of a service to provide. In my opinion, there are plenty of better endeavors that are better suited for Google.

Don't think it will hurt Google, but it's a very savvy move on Gilbarco's part (I used to work for one of their competitors). Just look at all the attention (free advertising) they're getting. This item was on one of the Orlando-area TV news shows this morning. Just hope they start using bigger displays, although most of them are bigger than most GPS units.

I think Google is spreading its talons accordingly. They are using the power of their information assets for profit -- nothing wrong with that. All we need is the Google OS and this will really stir things up. Maps, phones, Internet ads, search engine, online applications, social networking...WOW!

I may be dating myself, but it used to be common to get a free paper map at every gas station!

And John shares this nugget of information in reference to Doug's "Hacker Spotting 101" item on Monday:

You wrote: "to make sure there are no shenanigans (I'm pretty sure this is an Irish beer)..."

Just in case you were serious, a shenanigan (according to Wikipedia) is a deceitful confidence trick, or mischief causing discomfort or annoyance. The origin of the word is unknown but possibly originates from the Irish "sionnachuighim," meaning "I play the fox."

Got something to add? Tell us! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected].

About the Author

Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.


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