In a recent survey of large European firms, Forrester Research (NASDAQ: FORR) found that infrastructure consolidation will be a top priority during the next 12 months ¿ especially for utilities and the public sector. Security and disaster recovery upgrades, packaged apps implementation, and PC refresh are also high on the priority list. In its report ¿European Enterprises¿ 2005 IT Priorities,¿ out today, Forrester Research analyzes the survey results and discusses the implications for IT vendors.

Manuel Méndez, Associate Analyst, Technology Leadership at Forrester Research, says: ¿In 2005¿s modest IT spending environment, technology vendors need to understand enterprises¿ IT priorities or face a challenging year. Infrastructure consolidation will be a high priority for 63% of enterprises during the next 12 months. Therefore, infrastructure management vendors like IBM Tivoli, Computer Associates, HP, and BMC Software will increase their automation oriented offerings, especially in areas like change and configuration management, service-level management, and capacity planning. On the packaged apps implementation side, rising enterprise spending will attract the attention of offshore outsourcing providers.¿

2005 IT Priorities of European Enterprises

  • Infrastructure consolidation: Almost two-thirds of European enterprises plan to prioritize efforts to consolidate existing IT infrastructure ¿ a quarter of them consider it a top priority for 2005.
  • Security and business continuity: Nearly 60% of European firms rank the upgrade of their security systems as a high priority; 48% of them intend to renew existing disaster recovery capabilities.
  • Packaged applications: Forty-nine percent of European enterprises place the deployment or upgrade of a major application software package as a top IT priority in 2005.
  • PC refresh: Forty-eight percent of European enterprises will replace or upgrade their existing PCs.

According to Forrester, the consolidation of IT infrastructure is driven by business users¿ needs for flexible IT. Business users increasingly demand end-to-end service levels ¿ in support of business processes ¿ which today¿s still-fragmented infrastructure cannot provide. As companies embark on IT consolidation activities, effective infrastructure management tools will be key to meeting future automation and service delivery needs.

With IT working on consolidating existing fragmented infrastructure, security spending will gain more IT budget attention, increasing from 7% to 10% of the total IT budget in less than a year. Moreover, companies planning to increase their IT integration spending in 2005 are also more likely to buy security technology this year. In this environment, almost 60% of European firms will prioritize the upgrade of their security systems, whereas 48% of them will renew existing disaster recovery capabilities.

IT Infrastructure Consolidation Will Lead To Vendor Consolidation

As large European enterprises prioritize their IT infrastructure consolidation activities in 2005, Forrester expects that infrastructure managers at companies with a centralized business and IT structure will find it easier to translate their consolidation efforts into benefits. It also expects infrastructure management vendor consolidation to accelerate.

Méndez explains: ¿As companies consolidate their IT infrastructure, they will trim down the number of vendors they work with, not just to cut down vendor management costs, but to improve service levels and establish strategic partnerships as well.¿ Commenting on the vendor response: ¿To keep their leadership position, infrastructure management giants such as BMC Software, Computer Associates, HP, and IBM Tivoli will invest in new technology areas ¿ such as BMC¿s recently launched Atrium configuration management database ¿ and look at acquiring interesting vendors like Managed Objects in growing areas such as business service management.¿