Rick Telberg has started rolling out the results of his CPA tech spend survey. The big surprise for me is that 27% of respondents are planning to increase spending in the near term while 54% say they’ll increase spending over the next 6-18 months. On the downside, 34% say they’ve decreased spending but only 12% report the same in their medium term plans. These are good leading indicators of confidence in the economy because tech spend is one of those discretionary areas that gets pounded in a recession. Without wishing to sound picky, I’d have liked to see if there are any geographical differences. For instance, I’d expect tech and financial services clusters such as Boston, New York and California more heavily impacted than other states.
More interesting still is the spend breakdown. It’s especially interesting to see that in this group 36% plan to build or update websites while 33% plan on some sort of social media spend. The two can easily go hand in hand. The obvious attraction of social computing is the relatively modest cost combined with potentially high payback, especially for apps like wiki and internal social messaging. Before committing money to these activities, I’d strongly recommend anyone to read Om Malik’s thoughtful piece about the evolution of blogging. His sweep across the social computing landscape is instructive for those looking at where to put their money.Example:
Blogging needs to be social. There are many reasons for this, but the most important one — in my mind — is the changing nature of content. “We will all be streaming life moments as more and more bandwidth is available both at home and on the go,” I wrote two years ago. It’s already happening. Today most of us walk around with newfangled smartphones that are nothing short of multitasking computers, essentially content creation points. And they’re networked, which means creating and sharing content is becoming absurdly simple to do. With the increased number of content creation points –- phones, camera, Flip video cameras, Twitter -– we are publishing more and more content.
The implications for professionals are huge. Now more than ever, if we’re not in the flow of those who are actively communicating with one another we become invisible and ultimately irrelevant.
At the pure business end, it seems that respondents expect to get more mobile with 57% looking at notebook and 34% looking at smartphone/PDA. 24% are looking at saas/on-demand/cloud computing which is much higher than I would have thought. I’m left wondering what they’ll buy. There is very little out here right now though I was intrigued to find that IRIS is looking to dip its toe in the water:
According to [David] Pinches [marketing director], IRIS is still “at the research stage” of Cloud Computing. Group CEO Martin Leuw and his board have asked the different IRIS business units to build the Cloud into their three-year planning assumptions, but are letting them take an organic approach that responds to pace of each individual market sector.
“We’re starting to see interest [in the Cloud] at various levels and in different markets such as legal outsourcing,” said Pinches. “But we also know that most people are clinging on to their current software investment for another year.”…
…“If we go to existing customers and say we’ve got a great project management/billing solution, they’ll say, ‘So what?’ If you show how it feeds into existing practice or charity finance systems to eliminate cost – that’s different. That’s when you start to get take up.”
I suspect that IRIS’s cautious approach is born out of the fact it has been very difficult for the saas/on-demand/cloud industry to articulate strong differentiating points. It’s almost like they don’t know what they’ve got their hands on. (I have a growing list – with some real surprises )It is even more difficult for traditional on-prem providers to figure out saas customer value because they are often more concerned about the extent the saas model will impact their financial performance. Once they have that worked out then it will be a lot easier to persuade customers.
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