Since 2008-2009, when we entered into the depths of the most recent recession, there's been rather more doom and gloom than there has been cheer and anticipation when it comes to business forecasts for IT. On April 28, CompTIA countered this trend with an unexpectedly ebullient IT Industry Confidence index, its own quarterly measure of business confidence and expectations regarding the IT industry (gathered, presumably, from among its thousand of industry member organization and companies). In fact, this is the third quarter in a row in which forecasts and expectations have continued upon an upward trend. Can this signal an upturn for IT?
You'll find the press release about the index at http://www.comptia.org/news/pressreleases/14-04-28/Positive_Momentum_Continues_in_Latest_CompTIA_IT_Industry_Business_Confidence_Index.aspx, released on April 28. Here are some of the high points, after which I'll point to other potentially positive signs of improvement in the IT sector:
- CompTIA calculates its IT Industry Business Confidence Index on a 100-point scale. At a present value of 61.3, it's up by 1.1 percent from 60.2 in the preceding quarter (results are for Q1 2014, and Q4 2013, respectively).
- The forward-looking component of the index projects a gain of 2.7 points, but it's not clear on the timescale involved (nor is the slide in the http://www.slideshare.net/comptia/comp-tia-q2-2014-it-business-confidence-index [complete report] -- number 2 -- from which the data is drawn).
- Tim Herbert, CompTIA's VP for Research opines that “It’s taken time for segments of customers to shift from cost containment mode to invest for the future mode. The everything-as-a-service phenomenon has helped, giving buyers more options and flexibility.” He also sees cloud computing and mobility as particularly hot growth areas for IT, in keeping with many other industry outlooks and forecasts from the analysts, to news services, and even yours truly.
- Furthermore, CompTIA presents numerous data points to suggest some pent-up demand for IT hiring is about to be satisfied. One-third of companies surveyed reported themselves as understaffed, with 42 percent as fully staffed, but wanting more hires to expand or grow. Half of companies reported job openings, with 76 percent of large concerns, 75 percent of medium outfits, 47 percent of small businesses, and 18 percent of micro companies (1-5 employees) with current job openings. Better for IT, most such open jobs are technical, including technicians and IT support personnel, application developers, cloud experts, network engineers and security experts.
When coupled with rapid growth in and high demand for workers in aforementioned areas (cloud computing and mobility), with almost equally high calls for information security staff, software developers of many stripes, data analysts and "Big Data" savvy professionals, and scarily high growth in healthcare IT, things are actually not just looking up, but also looking inclined to maintain a positive outlook for some time to come. Can it be that IT is finally turning the corner? I don't want to jinx the possibility by committing myself in writing, but it sure is starting to look that way. All I can say is "'Bout Time!!!"