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Small Business IT, Staffing Won't Keep Up With Investments

The small business information technology investment picture is looking brighter than it has since the beginnings of the recession in 2007, a new survey said. But IT staffing levels are not expected to keep pace with investment.

Nearly half (49 percent) of IT decision makers at small businesses expect to replace or install new hardware in the next six months, up 10 percent from the previous IT Growth Monitor survey conducted in October by CDW, a national technology retailer. An even greater number of small companies (61 percent) anticipate replacing or installing new software during the same period.

The rising expectation of growth among small- and medium-size businesses is influencing sentiment across the entire corporate sector, despite a leveling off in the large business sector, which showed great optimism earlier in 2010.

Optimism among IT decision makers in government is not as strong as it is in the private sector.

Though the small business outlook reached its highest level since December 2007, small business still lags behind larger competitors; 90 percent of IT decision makers at medium-size businesses expect to purchase new hardware within the next six months.

Across the board, IT decision makers at companies both small and large anticipate trying to do more with less. Nearly  one in 10   corporate IT decision makers expect to cut IT staff within the next six months, up three percentage points from October 2010.

“As the economic climate improves, investing in technology will be critical for organizations seeking to increase productivity,” said Thomas E. Richards, CDW’s president and COO. “Focusing on the IT refresh cycle and upgrading existing technology is taking immediate precedence with IT decision makers over increasing IT staffing in the near term.”

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.