Cutting IT Costs Is Not A Priority, And That’s Good News
February 13, 2023 Timothy Prickett Morgan
For the past nine years that Fortra (formerly HelpSystems) has been putting together the IBM i Marketplace Survey, one of the first things we always look at is the Top IT Concerns part of the survey results. It is a barometer that tells you what IBM i shops are thinking might happen in the future even if it is not an actual prediction about what will happen in our economy and the IBM i community.
It’s sentiment informed by the budgetary processes that were at work as 2022 came to a close.
The most important thing I look at every year is what is the propensity of the IBM i shops surveyed to reduce IT spending in the coming year. If this category of concern is moving to the left on the column chart, that is bad news. And if it is moving to the right that is good news because if companies are not worried about reducing spending, then they probably have enough budget to take on the issues that are concerning as well as maintaining the application portfolio.
In this year’s report (and hence the October 2022 survey), reducing IT spending was the tenth most important concern among the more than 300 people who were surveyed, cited by 18 percent of respondents. In last year’s report, reducing IT spending was the number six concern and it was cited by 35 percent of those polled. That is half the share of respondents saying they need to cut IT spending and it is four positions to the right on the column chart – all of this in the face of a similar degree of economic uncertainty as far as we are concerned. There are economic uncertainties, to be sure, but there are nine other more important concerns, at least according to this survey.
The top concern, as we covered last week in detail, was cybersecurity, which stands to reason given the interconnectedness of systems in the 21st century and the prevalence of hacking and ransomware. The weird thing as far as we are concerned is that security was cited by 75 percent of respondents in last year’s report and it dropped to 68 percent in this year’s report. First, any drop is strange, and considering how “pervious” are systems seem to be (look at how many security bulletins we report on and track in the IBM i PTF Guide), why is security not cited by 100 freaking percent of the respondents? Do we really think that one third of IBM i companies feel secure about their system security? We suggest that this is probably a false sense of security, based on the number of things we hear security experts finding when they actually look under the hood at real IBM i shops.
Modernizing applications, high availability and disaster recovery, and IBM i skills continue to rank high, and over the next few years we expect for IBM i skills to become the number two concern – and intimately linked with modernizing applications.
For all of the talk about cloud, migrating to the cloud was number ten in last year’s report, cited by 17 percent of respondents, and has moved two positions to the left with 20 percent now citing it as a concern. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are appearing on the long range radar, with 10 percent of respondents citing it as one of their top five concerns.
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If you are 1 on the 64% that is looking at modernizing your applications, we would love to hear from you.