Election year brakes expected on IT spending

This year's general election can be expected to have a dampening effect on government IT spending, says IBM, but it's still anticipating a healthier market than last year.

This year’s general election can be expected to have a dampening effect on government IT spending, says IBM, but it’s still anticipating a healthier market than last year.

“2001 was a pretty tricky year but we expect a very good 2002,” says New Zealand managing director Nick Lambert.

Tricky or not, Big Blue lifted sales by 11% in 2001 to $342 million, and says profit grew even more from 2000’s $16 million. Lambert says his American bosses won’t let him reveal the actual figure.

That means two profitable years in a row after five loss-making ones, and sales that are just ahead of the level reached in 1999.

According to Lambert, the better numbers reflect customers’ increased satisfaction with the company, as measured by independently conducted surveys.

“We’re getting to know our customers better,” he says.

They’re telling him that they’ll be shopping for IT systems despite lingering economic uncertainty.

“Most organisations are trying to do more with less, which means spending on IT.”

Despite election year brakes being applied to public IT projects, IBM expects e-government moves to translate into significant business.

“We’ll have to see exactly how things pan out,” Lambert says, “but we’re absolutely interested in e-government.”

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