Despite Australia's economy slowing in recent months in line with a global economic downturn, IT's increasing role in underpinning critical business operations will likely save the sector from feeling the full brunt of the credit crunch.
At the 2008 CIO Summit held in Sydney on Tuesday, IDC Australia's Associate Vice President of Research, Tim Dillon, said research has shown that fears of an impending global recession doesn't necessarily mean gloom and doom for IT.
He warned that consumer and business confidence is diving, inflation in Asia-Pacific is going through the roof as disposable incomes decline, and the expectation is that we're on the cusp of a recession.
"It's not going to be a quick bounce back, it's going to be a slow, steady state of recovery…although we're coming into a recession if you look at it from a historical context, where we've seen some fairly harsh economic shocks, our IT spending, our IT development and our initiatives continue to move forward," he said, pointing to the steady years of investment that followed the early eighties recession and the dot-com crash.
"You could be forgiven for looking at the economy, the news and the commentary that we're on the edge of a precipice about to fall off, but we're not…IT spending as a percentage of turnover and IT spending as a percentage of budget are going up because IT is fundamentally critical to the business."
IT spending with money outside of IT's budget is also increasing, further highlighting its significance to business, and is a trend that is expected to augment. According to IDC's Annual Forecast for Management survey, the perception of IT as a source of competitive advantage has risen 20 percent from last year.
Dillon's presentation to CIO's attending the event concluded with a forecast of the challenges CIO's are expected to face in the near future.
Managing the growth in data will be one of the most prominent issues for CIO's. IDC's EMC-sponsored survey on the digital universe found that in 2007 more data was created than we have the capacity to store – some 281 Exabytes, or enough to wrap the world seven times over if all that data was printed out onto A4 sheets of paper.
"By the time we forward a 1.1Mb e-mail, back it up, synchronise it across multiple devices, route it across the network, one week later it is 51.5Mb…We are creating more stuff than we can keep," Dillon said.
IDC predicts that by 2011 only half of what we create will be stored. However, security compliance and data regulation laws, such as the recommended re-write of Australia's privacy laws, will mean organisations will have to improve the way data is stored and accessed.