IT organizations took a serious whack at their budgets this past year, according to our annual survey of Windows IT Pro magazine readers conducted by independent publication research company Readex. The drop in gross revenues year over year among the companies responding sets the stage: Average gross revenue for IT organizations responding to our survey dropped from $4 billion in 2009 to $2.8 billion in 2010. (Keep in mind that among the respondents are IT pros who represent some very large companies.)

Staffing expenditures dropped from an average of $6.6 million in 2009 to $6.2 million in 2010, about a 6 percent drop—a minor decrease compared with other drops in spending. Spending on consulting and outsourcing was down from an average of $3.55 million in 2010 to $1.37 million in 2010—a staggering 61 percent decline. The drop in average spending on computer systems plummeted from $6.53 in 2009 to $2.33 million in 2010. Spending on software dropped by 57 percent. But the most alarming signal of the declining economy’s effect on IT organizations was the cut in security and business continuity technology—down 58 percent from 2009, from $3.3 million in 2009 to $1.38 million in 2010.

 

Some New Technologies Still Creeping In

Despite these grim numbers, some new technology is slipping into IT organizations and onto users’ desktops (or laptops). About 66 percent of respondents reported that Windows 7 is in use in their organizations, and 48 percent are using Windows 7 x64 Edition. Windows Vista inevitably took the fall, down from 94 percent of respondents reporting its use in their organizations in 2009 to only 39 percent in 2010. Windows XP is exhibiting far more staying power—its use dropped only slightly: 94 percent of respondents reported that their organizations used XP in 2009, whereas 93 percent reported its use in 2010.

In the server category, our respondents reported that organizations are gradually shifting to Windows Server 2008. About 49 percent of organizations are using Windows Server 2008 and 53 percent are using Windows Server 2008 R2. Use of Windows Server 2003 is down from 91 percent in 2009 to 79 percent in 2010. Windows 2000 Server use dropped from 36 percent in 2009 to 21 percent in 2010. And Windows NT Server is still kicking, but use is down slightly from 6 percent in 2009 to 5 percent in 2010.

Server products competing with Microsoft technologies took a hit this year among our audience. Linux Server use is down from 46 percent in 2009 to 39 percent in 2010. HP-UX use is down from 13 percent in 2009 to 8 percent in 2010. And although it’s no surprise that Exchange Server dominates among our audience in the messaging category, the adoption of Exchange Server 2010 continues to move at a glacial pace. In 2009, 9 percent of respondents were using Exchange Server 2010. In 2010, that number has crept up to 12 percent. Among virtualization products, Hyper-V use rose from 13 percent in 2009 to 17 percent in 2010.

One of the newest categories of spending that we’re beginning to track with this year’s survey is spending on cloud computing. By far the biggest areas of spending are in messaging, followed by collaboration services. Vertical-market spending is evenly split across a number of categories, including human resources, customer relationship management, financial services, sales management, and supply chain management.

 

Critical Technologies

Cloud computing and virtualization will be the most likely technologies to loosen organizations’ budgets. After a year of serious slashing, organizations are beginning to see some declines in performance and services, which might hamper plans to seize opportunities as the economy finally recovers. Of course, no one yet knows when the real recovery will happen.