By the Numbers: December 2002

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Cellular and Wi-Fi are tied as the leading technologies for mobile devices. Also, four substantially different IT views on the economy. Plus: Caveat Emptor! Who will buy, who will sell, and who disappear from the face of the market?

Behind the Hype of Wireless Technology
Cellular and Wi-Fi are tied as the leading technologies for mobile devices, says an IDC study. While cellular serves wide-area network (WAN) systems that stretch for miles, the most popular short-range standard is Wi-Fi (short for Wireless Fidelity, the IEEE-certified 802.11 standard). Wi-Fi has caught on in some manufacturing segments, such as warehousing for retailers. The other short-range wireless technology, Bluetooth, is being adopted slowly despite much hype since its introduction in 1994. PDF Download

Tech-Spending Stories as Told by the Analysts
You'd think analysts would have a similar view of economic events that had already happened. But when Baseline compared four views of U.S. technology spending between 1998 and 2001, it found substantial variability. Both Meta Group and Giga Information Group, for instance, include consultant and staff costs in their annual tech-spending numbers—costs that were going through the roof in the days when the dot-com boom and Y2K projects were making talent look like a scarce resource. As a result, those firms' numbers tend to run high. Aberdeen Group includes outsourcing costs but excludes internal staff costs, while International Data Corp. excludes all worker costs. "Our research is for IT vendors," says IDC program director Stephen Minton. "They're basically interested in sizing the market. They're not interested in staffing costs."

In any event, many buyers of market research won't have to worry about reconciling different firms' numbers in the future, as many are reducing the number of research services they buy. For a report on the researchers and what technologists look for in them, see pp. 79-86 of this issue.

Buyer Beware
Half of today's software vendors will go belly-up within two years, predicts research firm Gartner Inc. "Not only will the small and weak disappear," says analyst Carl Claunch, "major players will merge or be acquired, [causing] even well-known and substantial brands to vanish." As a result, purchasers of technology need to be more vigilant than ever in considering whether their vendors will be here today, delisted tomorrow.

You Say Hiring's Easy; They Say So's Leaving
Six out of 10 companies say they are having no problem finding qualified tech workers. But if you listened to tech workers in the trenches, that could change: 60% say they are seeking new careers. Turnover this year has reached 11.8% so far, up from 9.9% in 2001.

The Secret to Financial Success: Spend Less Than the Joneses
Financially successful companies aren't always the ones that spend the most on information technology, according to a study that links such costs with business results. Companies with excellent results spent 3.3% of their annual revenue on technology, compared to 4.2% spent by below-average companies. Not surprisingly, the worst performers spent the least, at 2.6%. Top performers also spent smaller proportions of their budgets on consultants and application licenses and development.

This article was originally published on 2002-12-01
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