Asian Executives Against IT Staff Cuts for 2009

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Senior Asian information technology (IT) executives are cautiously confident about maintaining staff numbers through 2009, despite the economic downturn. Executives are also focussing on the core competitive advantage of their enterprises and are reluctant to adopt new technology trends. From a management priorities perspective, aligning IT with business goals remains the top concern, followed by controlling IT costs, IT-enabled process improvement and improving internal customer satisfaction.

Senior Asian information technology (IT) executives are cautiously confident about maintaining staff numbers through 2009, despite the economic downturn.

Although the global economic crisis dominates their thinking, 43 per cent of CIOs across the Asia Pacific expect to increase their IT staff headcount in the year ahead. More than a third (36 per cent) of this group indicated they planned to increase IT staff by between one and 10 per cent.

More than a quarter (28 per cent) expect their tech staff numbers to remain unchanged through 2009. Less than 10 per cent expect to have to cut IT staff numbers.

Executives are also focussing on the core competitive advantage of their enterprises and are reluctant to adopt new technology trends. Seventy one per cent cited integrating and enhancing existing systems as their top technology priority.

These are among the key findings of the 2008 State of the Asian CIO survey, conducted by CIO Asia magazine (http://www.mis-asia.com/magazines/cio_asia). The research was done in October after thousands of senior IT decision makers were canvassed across the region. CIO Asia is published by Fairfax Business Media, which also produces MIS Asia, Computerworld Singapore and Computerworld Malaysia magazines.

The results are based on more than 250 responses, with 80 per cent of respondents coming from the CIOs, CTOs and executive vice presidents who carry the weight of responsibility for IT management. The participants are members of an exclusive club, being among the command team of enterprises that generate annual revenues up to US$40 Billion.

CIO Asia Editor Ross O. Storey said there were some surprises relating to IT employment, some unexpected changes in management priorities and some predictable reactions in the 2008 State of the Asian CIO Survey.

"The results add fuel to the argument that the IT industry in the Asia Pacific will be more resilient to recessionary pressures than the more mature markets in the US and Europe," Storey said. "Most enterprises realise the problems with further trimming 'their IT engine' at a time when technology is needed the most, in order to improve productivity, operational efficiency and profits.

"For years, technology leaders have been pressured to do more with less, and most IT shops have already had all their fat removed; any further cuts must strike muscle and even bone."

From a management priorities perspective, aligning IT with business goals remains the top concern, followed by controlling IT costs, IT-enabled process improvement and improving internal customer satisfaction.

Business continuity and risk management was also a high priority for 2009, but only 8,2 per cent of respondents cited regulatory compliance as a management focus. More than 80 per cent indicated that they have no plans to increase their IT outsourcing next year.

A complete report on the 2008 State of the Asian CIO research can be found in the December edition of CIO Asia magazine which is available at airports and leading bookstores across Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. More detailed analysis of the research can be found at: http://www.mis-asia.com/magazines/cio_asia/december-2008/the-tech-squeeze

The 2008 State of the Asian CIO survey was carried out by Fairfax Business Research (FBR) (http://www.fairfaxbr.com) which evaluates trends, issues and markets through 11 major Asia Pacific countries, leveraging the information resources of the Fairfax group to deliver strategic intelligence to a range of internal and external clients. Business and product managers find FBR customised research invaluable in defining client needs and market opportunities.

Fairfax Business Media Asia is part of Australia's Fairfax Media (http://www.fxj.com.au), Australasia's largest newspaper publisher with titles such as the Australian Financial Review, Business Review Weekly, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Melbourne Age, The Sun-Herald and The Canberra Times.

For inquiries on the 2008 State of the Asian CIO Survey:
Contact: Ross O. Storey - W: +65 6395 8058 - E: rostorey at fairfaxbm dot com

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