By The Numbers: May 2003

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A data bank for those who devise and implement I.T. strategy.

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E-Sourcing Savings Start to Slow Down
Finding supplies electronically is important for managing operations, but big savings may be hard to come by in the future. According to one study, companies saved an average of 13.2% in Q4 2002 by e-sourcing—3.5% less than the previous quarter. Aberdeen Group analyst Mark Vigoroso says that as e-sourcing is rolled out to more-complex categories of spending, such as services and product parts, the margin for potential savings narrows. Translation: Much low-hanging fruit has been picked.

At the same time, new forms of e-sourcing are allowing for more-sophisticated transactions between buyer and seller, such as sealed bids and one-on-one negotiations. These strategies complement reverse auctions and RFx, which were the original—and still most popular—e-sourcing practices.

Insecure as a Proxy Server
E-mail gets all the attention. ICSA Labs found that the number of companies guarding e-mail gateways with antivirus software has tripled since 1997; similar protection for proxy servers, however, has barely doubled. That could be a serious problem for companies that have begun to use Web mail and peer-to-peer applications, says Larry Bridwell, content security programs manager for ICSA.

Database Bounceback
IBM has been gaining ground in the database market through acquisitions and increased sales of DB2, but Oracle may pick up steam thanks to a post-Iraq war spending spree by big corporations. IDC analyst Carl Olofson expects little real growth until 2005.

Movin' on Up
Management responsibilities, not tech-system issues, weigh heaviest on the minds of tech executives today, according to research from Gartner. With 40% of cios now reporting directly to the CEO, technology MANAGERS ARE taking leadership roleS in making business decisions. Sure beats worrying about server farms crashing.

No Harm, No Foul
Companies that are still hiring consultants aren't doing so at the expense of full-time employees, a recent survey found. Instead, they are more than twice as likely to add full-time staff as companies that are cutting back. But growth isn't the impetus here—those hiring are trying to keep their enterprise software rollouts from failing.

This article was originally published on 2003-05-01
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