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Survey: midsize businesses shift to growth mode, investing more in IT

In 2009, most midsized businesses focused on cost-cutting -- now most seek growth, and are turning to analytics, cloud and CRM technology.
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Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributor on

In recent years, businesses hunkered down as the economic hurricane roared through -- trying to hold on to what they had by cutting costs and canceling projects. Now, the tide has turned toward growth, and midsized businesses now seek to energize their growth by turning to information technology to make things happen.

A new IBM survey of 2,000 midsize companies from across 20 countries finds more than half are planning to increase their information technology budgets over the next 12 to 18 months, and they are investing in a wide range of priorities including analytics, cloud computing, collaboration, mobility and customer relationship solutions.

Data analytics is a particularly important initiative. The study found 70% of midsize companies are actively pursuing analytics technology to better understand their customers, make better decisions and become more efficient. The study also shows growing adoption of cloud computing among midsize firms, with two-thirds either planning or currently deploying cloud-based technologies to improve IT systems management while lowering costs.

Source: IBM

Comparisons between the current study and those from 2009 also reveal a shift from a predominant focus on cost control and efficiency to a greater emphasis on growth initiatives. Today, 21% characterize their strategic mindset as 'efficiency and cost control' -- down from 53% in 2009. Priorities now on top of mind for midsize CEOs (79%) include customer focus, innovation and growth.

This change is reflected in the increased adoption of analytics and predictive technologies that have become more affordable and widely available for midsize companies. The study finds that 53% of respondents expect their IT budgets to increase over the next 12 to 18 months, 31% expect they will remain unchanged and 16% think they will decrease or are unsure.

Top IT implementation projects among midsize companies include the following:

  • IT infrastructure improvements             75%
  • Business intelligence/analytics             70%
  • Collaboration                                        70%
  • Business performance management     70%
  • Information management                       69%
  • Mobility/unified communication              68%
  • Virtualization                                          67%
  • Cloud computing                                    66%

The report can be downloaded from the IBM Website.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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