1 ESG Research Brief 2010 Networking Spending Trends Date: February 2010 Author: Jon Oltsik, Principal Analyst Abstract: In general terms, spending on networking equipment will be better than last year but not nearly as fruitful as earlier this decade. In this type of climate, networking vendors must be extremely careful with their marketing dollars and invest in the right market segments. Data from ESG s 2010 IT Spending Intentions Survey including network hardware spending analysis by industry and by customer psychographics will help networking vendors make the right bets in Networking Spending Up in 2010 ESG s 2010 IT Spending Intentions Survey finds relatively good news for the networking industry in 2010, compared to Overall, 52% of midmarket (i.e., 100 to 999 employees) and enterprise (i.e., 1,000 or more employees) organizations will increase IT spending in 2010 as opposed to only 43% in Specific spending on networking equipment also looks relatively promising as 49% or organizations surveyed will increase their spending on network hardware this year (see Figure 1), up from just 32% in Figure 1. Network Hardware Spending in 2010 To what extent will your organization's spending on network hardware change in 2010? (Percentage of respondents, N = 264) Decrease, 16% Increase, 49% Stay flat, 35% Spending Segmentation. While network hardware spending intentions have improved year-over-year, overall spending trends remain subdued: ultimately, less than half of organizations are increasing network hardware spending this year. Given this reality, networking equipment vendors should maintain a disciplined and targeted sales and marketing approach throughout Where should networking vendors focus their attention? Further analysis of ESG s 2010 IT spending data pinpoints a number of interesting trends. From a vertical industry perspective, for example, financial services, health care, and federal government organizations are the most likely to increase network hardware spending in On the other hand, less than 50% of the organizations surveyed in other industries such as manufacturing, state and local government, and education plan on networking spending increases this year (see Table 1). 1 Source: ESG Research Report, 2010 IT Spending Intentions Survey, January 2010.
2 ESG Research Brief: 2010 Networking Spending Trends 2 Table Network Hardware Spending Increase, by Industry Health Care Percentage of respondents reporting that their organization will increase network hardware spending in % 56% 50% 45% 38% 38% Changes in an organization s overall 2010 IT spending profile can also serve as a barometer for network hardware purchasing plans. As shown in Table 2, organizations still focused primarily on cutting IT costs are unlikely to increase network hardware spending while those in growth mode will be far more active buyers. Table Network Hardware Spending Increase, by Current IT Spending Mode Which of the following best characterizes your organization s change in IT spending from 2009 to 2010? We are in major cost reduction mode We are in growth mode Percentage of respondents reporting that their organization will increase network hardware spending in % 76% ESG also analyzed network hardware purchasing plans by company psychographic profiles and found a number of interesting trends. For example, organizations that consider upper management as risk takers are more far more likely to increase their network hardware spending than are those whose management teams are more risk averse (see Table 3). Table 3. Network Hardware Spending Increase, by Management Risk Tolerance Profile In general, how would you describe your organization s management team? Percentage of respondents reporting that their organization will increase network hardware spending in 2010 Takes many risks and tends to invest in new high-risk/high-reward products and services Takes some risks but generally only invests in new products/services that have a high probability of success Takes very little risk and generally invests only in new products/services that they are almost sure will succeed 67% 54% 39%
3 ESG Research Brief: 2010 Networking Spending Trends 3 Not surprisingly, how an organization typically purchases IT products and services is also a predictor of increased network hardware spending. Respondents classifying their organizations as leading-edge consumers of IT products and services are far more likely to increase network hardware spending in 2010 that those with more conservative IT purchasing habits (see Table 4). Table 4. Network Hardware Spending Increase, by IT Purchasing Behavior Generally speaking, how would you describe your organization s purchasing patterns for IT products and services? Percentage of respondents reporting that their organization will increase network hardware spending in 2010 Leading-edge consumers we stay on top of the most current technology trends and purchase related products as soon as they are available Average consumers we stay on top of technology trends but generally wait to purchase related products until they have proven acceptance in the market Laggard consumers we don t really stay on top of technology trends and tend make investments only after those technologies have been widely accepted in the market 73% 49% 27% Which Networking Products Will Sell in 2010? ESG also asked respondents which networking technologies they planned to buy in The top three categories were network security, wireless LAN, and IP telephony (see Figure 2). Figure 2. Top Areas for Networking Investments in 2010 With regards to specific spending plans for networking, in which of the following areas will your organization make the most significant investments over the next months? (Percent of respondents, N=264, up to three responses accepted) Network security 48% Wireless LAN 42% Voice over IP (VoIP) 32% WAN optimization / acceleration Remote meeting solutions (e.g., Web meeting, telepresence, etc.) Upgrade core data center network to 10- Gigabit Ethernet Unified communications 16% 19% 24% 27% Application delivery controllers 6% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%.
4 ESG Research Brief: 2010 Networking Spending Trends 4 ESG analyzed this data by vertical industry and found a number of interesting correlations. For example, federal government, state/local government, and health care will be the biggest network security buyers while educational institutions and state/local government are poised to purchase a lot of WLAN equipment so much so that it skews the overall averages. Other patterns also emerge for networking technologies like VOIP, WAN optimization, and 10Gb Ethernet equipment (see Table 5). Table 5. Top Areas for Networking Investments in 2010, by Industry Health Care Network security 44% 52% 64% 32% 55% 38% Wireless LAN 35% 26% 29% 30% 52% 70% Voice over IP 26% 41% 36% 36% 38% 35% WAN optimization 24% 30% 57% 39% 24% 14% 10Gb Core Network Upgrade 18% 26% 14% 23% 14% 22% Research Implications This data can help networking vendors in several ways. For example, the psychographic data presented above could be used to separate strong from weak prospects. How? Smart companies will sort through leads and use the ESG data as the basis of a few qualifying questions. For example, telemarketing staff could call prospects and ask them: 1. Is your organization in cost containment or growth mode? Growth mode prospects should be highlighted as they are probably increasing their network hardware spending. 2. Would you characterize your organization s management style as risk-taking or risk-averse? Risk takers should obviously be prioritized. 3. Would you consider your organization to be a leading edge IT consumer? If yes, this prospect probably has significant network purchasing plans for In addition to these qualifying questions, ESG s data also provides a blueprint for vertical industry sales and marketing strategies since the data indicates which industries are buying network hardware and the specific technologies they plan to purchase (see Table 6). If used in this way, ESG s 2010 IT spending data can help networking firms fine tune marketing budgets, guide marketing plans, and steer investments in marketing programs and sales tactics.
5 ESG Research Brief: 2010 Networking Spending Trends 5 Table 6. Vertical Industry Sales and Marketing Blueprint for Networking Vendors Industry Health Care ESG recommendation for IT vendor marketing budget allocation Increase marketing budget for 2010 Increase marketing budget for 2010 Increase or maintain marketing budget in 2010 depending upon Federal penetration and focus areas Decrease or maintain marketing budget in 2010 depending upon focus areas Decrease marketing budget Decrease marketing budget Comments (based on ESG research) Average buyer of all networking equipment Heavy focus on business process improvement Market networking as business solution Focus on VOIP and network security Business focus on security and compliance Market networking as an enabler of secure business processes Big consumer of network security and WAN optimization A lot of focus on IT governance (i.e. COBIT, ITIL, NIST-800) IT skills weaker than other industries Sell secure network solutions that support IT governance best practices and compliance requirements Support product sales with services Above average opportunity is in WAN optimization, all others average Lots of data center consolidation and server virtualization activities point toward 10Gb aggregation and top-of-rack sales More apt to buy green products In cost reduction mode Focus on data center and branch office solutions while emphasizing lower operating costs and green benefits Focus on WLAN and network security Slightly more likely to buy mobile workforce enablement solutions and upgrade core networks In significant cost containment mode Data center consolidation Focus on data center and branch office solutions while emphasizing lower operating costs and network security Most likely industry to buy WLAN but also strong interest in VOIP and unified communications Most aggressive industry in terms of server virtualization implementation Focus on networking support for server virtualization, n, integrated wired/wireless network management, and network applications for collaboration/communication All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change from time to time. This publication is copyrighted by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or in part, whether in hard-copy format, electronically, or otherwise to persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of the Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. copyright law and will be subject to an action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Should you have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at (508)
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