Network support is gobbling up an increasingly large chunk of small and medium-sized companies' IT budgets, according to a report from Romtec.
Almost half the IT managers surveyed said they expect their spending on network support to increase in the next year, with a further 44% predicting it will remain stable. Only 7% thought their network support budgets would eat up less of the available resources in the future.
The Romtec report, Selling the Right services to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, is based on interviews with IT managers at 300 UK organisations employing between 10 and 250 staff, conducted this autumn.
On level pegging with network support is end-user training; again, 49% of respondents reckoned their spending on training will increase in the coming year.
Software support and PC hardware maintenance were next on the list, with 39% of those surveyed anticipating they will have to commit more resources to these activities during the next 12 months. Just under a third thought their year-on-year spending on end-user helpdesk activities would rise.
Of the five areas covered in the survey, all are expected either to require increased spending or remain at existing levels by the great majority of organisations. PC hardware maintenance is the area most likely to be squeezed during the course of 1997, with 16% of respondents saying they expect spending on this aspect of desktop management to decrease.
Romtec concludes managers may be relying on improved network administration tools to deliver cost savings in desktop hardware support.
As a result of the anticipated increased spend on networks, Stephen Timms, a senior research analyst at Romtec, predicts a change in the network services market. "Companies will outsource more and more of their network support needs because the increasing usage of networks, and their growing complexity, makes outsourcing the logical and often the most cost-effective solution." he said.
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