An IBM study of midsize organizations in 17 countries shows that companies have not been deterred from their plans for strategic IT initiatives, which range from information management and security management to social media and cloud computing – despite a clear recognition of the need to cut costs in a difficult economy.

Based on an online survey of 1,879 respondents, conducted in April and May 2009, IBM’s "Inside the Midmarket: A 2009 Perspective" study reveals five key trends:

1. The highest-priority technology solution, chosen by 75 percent of respondents, is information management, which turns mountains of data into meaningful insights.

2. The most pressing business challenges include increasing efficiency and productivity (80 percent), improving customer care (74 percent) and better use of information (72 percent).

3. The impact of the economy on IT budgets has caused 14 percent to actually increase spending; 39 percent to re-prioritize their spending; 37 percent to decrease spending; while 10 percent report no change.

4. Despite the economy, more than two-thirds of those surveyed are planning or currently implementing their top IT priorities, led by infrastructure reliability (75 percent), disaster recovery (72 percent), information management (71 percent) and security management (68 percent).

5. A majority of firms view their primary IT provider as a technology advisor or IT and business consultant, with 25 percent seeing the relationship as purely transactional.

This year’s survey also illustrates the growing role of emerging technologies, such as cloud computing, green IT, and social media – areas that were not even included in a similar IBM study conducted in 2007.

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