A third of UK businesses slam brakes on IT upgrades

Nearly a third of UK companies have put IT upgrades on hold as a result of the recession, according to research.

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Nearly a third of UK companies have put IT upgrades on hold as a result of the recession, according to research.

Some 30 percent of firms surveyed by the National Computing Centre said they were delaying a range of IT upgrades as budgets tighten. Specifically, software upgrades were being delayed by 23 percent of firms, and hardware upgrades by an equal number of firms.

But the infrastructure options available to companies were so numerous and complex that this was also holding back investment, the NCC said.

Around a third of companies see software as a service as an important type of technology for them, but 18 percent think it is of little or no importance, according to the research.

Some 22 percent see cloud computing as an important area for future investment, but 21 percent see it as of little or no importance. Four in 10 are unsure, a fact that highlights the relative immaturity of the model, the NCC said.

The survey found that server virtualisation was one type of infrastructure technology that has a strong place in businesses. A high 42 percent of firms have already virtualised servers and a further 28 percent are at the planning stage.

Desktop virtualisation was less mature, the NCC said, but it speculated that cost cutting opportunities might prompt further investment in the technology. Only seven percent of firms have invested in it so far, and 14 percent are evaluating it. A third have no plans.

“Virtualisation has almost been seen as a universal panacea for both cost saving and providing a ‘greener’ IT environment,” said Cliff Mills, research manager at the NCC. “However, the easy first phase of virtualisation has been done and the next steps will require even more careful planning and analysis to achieve real benefits.”

IT budgets were coming under “severe pressure”, added Steve Fox, managing director at the NCC’s procurement advice Evaluation Centre. This meant there was increased scrutiny of IT at board level, he said, forcing firms “to look more seriously at alternative delivery infrastructure such as SaaS and cloud computing”.

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