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Survey: Mobility to power IT spending surge

Survey data from In-Stat/MDR suggests that IT spending will increase this year and in years to come, in part because of the need to keep remote workers connected.

Information technology spending is likely to increase in 2004 -- and for a number of years to follow -- in part because of increased mobility spending, according to a recent survey by the research firm In-Stat/MDR.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based research firm found that top-level executives at both enterprises and small and medium businesses expect to spend 4% more on IT products and services this year than last year. Going forward, In-Stat/MDR expects an increase of 3% a year through 2008.

One of the primary reasons for the spending growth is that businesses are becoming increasingly concerned with connecting remote and mobile workers to the enterprise, said Jeff Wilson, an analyst with In-Stat/MDR and author of the survey.

"The ability to collaborate between sites and increase the productivity of the mobile worker is behind some of the investment in technology," Wilson said.

For example, more employers are providing workers with cell phones and laptops, Wilson said, and wireless LANs are also becoming increasingly common in businesses.

According to the survey, "Wealth effect: IT trends and expenditures in the U.S. business market," businesses want to create a virtual enterprise in which an employee can always access company data, regardless of his location.

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Businesses are also working to speed up communications, enabling real-time functions in their networks to make their operations more efficient and flexible. With more accurate and timely data, employees can make better decisions. Sometimes that push requires not only mobility, but also costly network upgrades, Wilson said.

Enterprises seem willing to spend now because they have a more optimistic view of the economy, Wilson said. Half of those surveyed had a "somewhat positive" view of the economy, and 13% had a "very positive" view.

For the survey, In-Stat/MDR queried 648 decision makers at United States-based enterprises that employ 1,000 or more workers, and 810 decision makers at smaller businesses.

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