Web services have replaced security at the top of the list of applications and technologies of importance to IT executives, according to research from the Society for Information Management.
The findings, released at the society's SIMposium conference this week in Dallas, Texas, are based on a survey of executives from 139 of the society's member companies. The survey uncovered an upbeat atmosphere, with budgets and hiring on the rise, in sharp contrast to recent years.
Reflecting the positive mood, security technologies fell to third in the list, behind Web services and business intelligence. The society said the interest in Web services shows increasing emphasis on technologies that allow more flexibility, such as virtualisation, SOA and thin clients. Web services didn't even reach the top six in last year's survey.
Meanwhile, security fell from its place at the top of the list for the past two years. That shows companies believe they have made significant progress in protecting their systems from attack, the society said.
Members' budgets have stayed steady or grown over the past year, and for next year 84.6 percent expect budgets to increase. Seventy percent expected IT head count to stay the same or increase next year, and 64 percent said they had a less than 5 percent staff turnover, both significant improvements over last year's survey.
Budgets may be rising, but the report's author, Jerry Luftman of the Stevens Institute of Technology, said he didn't see any budget planning for Windows Vista upgrades next year. Software as a percentage of IT budgets remained flat, while budgets for hardware and networking were rising for 2007, Luftman said.