User upgrades govern procurement plans

The GCN Reader Survey is intended to provide data on trends and product preferences. This survey on IT spending is based on a telephone survey of 100 federal readers who on their subscription forms identified themselves as IT procurement officials.

Upgrading user hardware and software will be the biggest driver of IT spending in the next year, a GCN telephone survey of government IT procurement officials found.

On the software side, 84 percent of survey participants cited user upgrades as the main reason for buying software over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 78 percent of those planning to buy hardware cited user upgrades as the driver.

Procurement officials also identified network upgrades and security enhancements as reasons for their planned hardware and software purchases in the coming months.

Nearly all'90 percent'of those we interviewed expected to buy hardware; 70 percent had software on their shopping lists.

More than a third'35 percent'of officials in the sample expected their IT spending to increase over the next year, while about half'49 percent'anticipated that their IT expenditures would stay level. Only 16 percent foresaw a decline in spending.

Among those expecting to increase spending, a computer specialist at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle, N.C., said that, in the next year, 'a 3 percent to 5 percent increase in dollars will be available to buy [IT] with.' User upgrades top the spending list there, he said.

Stepping up information security is why a General Services Administration systems integration manager in Oakland, Calif., expects her office to increase IT spending in the next year.

'We're upgrading security and communications,' said a software development manager at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, where he expects IT outlays to rise in the next year.

On the other hand, IT spending will be 'postponed until budget dollars are available,' said a Marine Corps LAN administrator in Portland, Ore.

At Texas' Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, purchases will decrease in the next year because 'we bought so much this year,' an information-services manager said.

At the New York State Controller's office, state budget constraints will slow IT spending in the coming year, said a network administrator. His office plans to lease PCs where needed, the administrator said.

Among other survey results, 57 percent in the sample said their agencies spend at least $100,000 annually on IT. A third put $500,000 or more into technology.

In addition, 76 percent use credit cards to make purchases, the survey showed.

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