Four Technologies Offer Best Investment Profile in 2009

August, 2009

(Irvine, Calif.) Four technologies stand out this year as having strong investment profiles: server virtualization, storage virtualization, unified communications, and cloud computing, according to the Computer Economics Technology Trends and IT Management Best Practices 2009/2010 study.

These technologies present low potential risk and high potential reward, according to the study, which is based on a survey of more than 200 IT organizations. The survey asked organizations about their return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO) experience with various technologies.

Server virtualization, the fastest-growing area of IT investment in the study, ranked No. 1 in terms of potential reward. It had the highest percentage of organizations achieving positive or breakeven ROI on the technology. Cloud computing ranked first in offering low risk: it had the highest percentage of organizations that come in at or under budget on implementation and ongoing support costs over a two-year period.

“At this point, server virtualization is being almost universally adopted and penetrating deeper into the data center, and this trend is supported by the positive economic experiences that companies are reporting to us,” said John Longwell, director of research for Computer Economics, an Irvine, Calif., based IT research and advisory firm.

Investments in unified communications and storage virtualization are at more moderate levels, but the risk/reward analysis shows that organizations are also having success with these technologies. On the other hand, very few organizations report as yet investing in cloud computing. “Cloud computing looks promising, but not enough organizations have enough experience with the IT strategy yet to come to a definitive conclusion,” Longwell said.

The study raises concerns about one area of technology investment: business intelligence software. Current investment activity in business intelligence software is very high, indicating some organizations must be reaping high rewards. Yet the study indicates BI software has a poor risk/reward profile. Many organizations are struggling with risks associated with cost overruns, expanding projects, and hard to define benefits, the study concluded.

In addition to the risk/reward analysis, the Computer Economics Technology Trends and IT Management Best Practices 2009/2010 study provides current adoption levels, current investment activity, and economic experience for 13 technologies: ERP, CRM, Business Intelligence, SOA, server virtualization, storage virtualization, desktop virtualization, SaaS, cloud computing, VoIP, unified communications, social networking, and green IT.

The report also presents adoption trend and practice level data for 10 specific IT management best practices: IT steering committees, IT change control board, IT balanced scorecard, benchmarking IT Spending and Staffing, IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), project management office (PMO), IT security policy compliance audits, disaster recovery plan testing, contribution to open source development projects, and IT Staff telecommuting.