Economy fears not yet stopping IT spending

Oracle OpenWorld attendees show little concern the financial crisis will hurt tech projects

Fears about the fragile state of the economy aren't translating to IT investment shifts among Oracle OpenWorld 2008 conference attendees this week -- at least not yet. Interviews with a sampling of attendees at the San Francisco conference Monday revealed little anxiety about the economy, with attendees mostly set to stay the course at the moment.

"For our particular company, it's not having a huge effect mainly because we work primarily in the federal, civilian, and DoD [US Department of Defense] spaces," said Marty Pressey, senior project manager at InfoReliance, which builds defense-related applications. "Obviously, the federal government and DoD are continuing to spend money to support their ongoing operations." He said the upcoming election could impact spending more than the economy.

Rob Walker, group manager for commercial systems at diagnostics equipment manufacturer Beckman Coulter, said the economy had not affected purchasing at his firm, but did note that "it's in the realm of possibility" that it might do so in the future. Likewise, at Ventana Medical Systems, the economy has yet to impact IT buying decisions, said Andrew Elmer, an Oracle database administrator. "It could possibly happen, but it's hard to say," he said.

Another attendee, who requested anonymity, said the economy could impact IT purchases if there is a business slowdown and margins were lower. But the company, an SAP shop, still is spending plenty of money, the attendee said.

Although most attendees interviewed had few concerns on IT spending due to the economic crisis, one attendee was seeing lower tech investments: "Budgets are lower for next year," said Anil Jain, IS manager and applications architect at conferencing services provider InterCall. "There will be lots of crunch in terms of resources and in terms of the tools [that] we can purchase. ... For 2009, we have made so many budget proposals, I'm not sure whether all of them will be approved or not," he said.

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