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Sydney, Australia, October 29, 2008 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says Asia Pacific Cushioned, But Not Immune From Impact Of Economic Slowdown

Australian IT Executives to Learn Cost Containment Strategies At Gartner Symposium/ITxpo In Sydney, 11-14 November 2008

As bullishness turns to caution, Asia Pacific organisations are expected to delay computer hardware upgrades and large technology projects and focus on efforts to improve client retention and acquisition, according to technology research firm Gartner.  In a worst case scenario, information technology (IT) spending in Asia Pacific is forecast to grow 8.3 percent in 2009 to reach US$585.7 billion, compared to Gartner’s previous forecast of 11 percent growth.

Worldwide, Gartner research indicates that in a worst case scenario, global IT spending will increase 2.3 percent in 2009, down from an earlier projection of 5.8 percent. Under the worst case scenario, the hardware sector will be hardest hit, followed by the IT services sector. Software spending growth will remain strong at 8.6 percent.

Gartner analysts will provide the latest outlook for the IT industry during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Sydney next month, and provide IT professionals with the practical advice to support their 2009 IT planning cycle and help weather the turbulence.

According to Gartner managing vice president Matthew Boon, the second half of 2008 has and will continue to see shifts in confidence and willingness to invest, with chief information officers (CIOs) paying closer attention to investments and requiring higher levels of approval and justification for decisions.

“CIOs in Asia Pacific are being pulled in different directions,” said Mr Boon. “On the one hand they are being asked to grow the business to take advantage of market opportunity, and on the other hand to cut costs.

“This will make the IT buyer less easy to predict.  They will seek lower pricing and have lower brand loyalty. Technology vendors will need to be seen to support their customers’ cost containment strategies while at the same time focusing on value.

“In Australia, we are still seeing some IT executives with their head in the sand, refusing to believe the grimmer reality of the next six months. This is the ‘we aren’t seeing it’ trap that wastes valuable planning time. IT leaders in this region should take full advantage of the available time to quietly and privately develop plans for a worst case scenario in 2009,” said Mr. Boon.

According to data from Global Insights, most Asia Pacific nations are still expected to show reasonably healthy GDP growth rates in 2009 compared to other parts of the world – 2.3 percent in Australia, 7.8 percent in India and 8.9 percent in China. While growth in many countries in Asia Pacific is forecast to be down on 2007 levels, in contrast, GDP is expected to grow just 0.1 percent in the U.S. and 0.2 percent in the U.K. in 2009.

According to Gartner, the IT industry will not see the dramatic reductions that were seen during the dot.com bust, because organisations now view IT as a way to transform their businesses and adopt operating models that are much leaner. IT is embedded in all aspects of the business and is a critical part of multi-year transformation projects that are difficult to cut.

Gartner recommends that Asia Pacific IT organisations:

  • Invest effectively in markets that deserve investment; don’t be afraid to postpone investment
  • Decide what needs to be spent, not what needs to be cut
  • Modernise infrastructure with virtualisation and cloud computing concepts, delete some applications
  • Question every project as if it was new
  • Understand and demonstrate the value of IT in improving business processes, increasing client acquisition and improving client retention
  • Use vendors with a clear understanding of return on investment in your business
  • Prepare a contingency budget approximately 20 percent down on current year
  • Be willing to change and change quickly – be nimble

With greater pressure on organisations to make a difference with what they have, Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Sydney will feature a special ‘virtual track’ called Optimise IT Spending, covering strategies and best practices for containing costs without reducing business value.

Additional advice is available on Gartner’s IT and the Economy’ web site at: http://www.gartner.com/it/themes/economy/economy_100.jsp?prm=10_27_08_CCC

About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo
Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the IT industry's largest and most-strategic conference, providing business leaders with a look at the future of IT. Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are an important component of delegates’ annual planning efforts. They rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organisations can use IT to address business challenges. For more information, visit www.gartner.com/au/symposium

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