Asia-Pacific IT managers do more with less

Asia-Pacific IT managers do more with less money, less equipment and fewer staff than their counterparts inthe rest of the world, according to market researchers Gartner Group.

Average IT budgets in the Asia-Pacific region are 18 per cent lower when adjusted for workload and 57 percent lower on a "flat dollar" basis, says Gartner senior research analyst Brett PayneThe conclusions are based on a slice-and-dice comparison of the Asia-Pacific region versus rest of world(ROW) using Gartner's central database of benchmark measurement studies going back five years.

Payne told Gartner's Asia Pacific Symposium that the region's IT shops:

· Lead the world in downsizing application platforms to smaller Unix platforms;· Saw applications development budgets hit a wall in the 1998 Asian meltdown and slump to half the ROW;· Have proportionately fewer mainframes while those that do exist are typically half the size of their ROWcounterparts;· Have declared WinNT the winner over Unix in the mid-range applications server war.

Enterprises represented in the Gartner database have anywhere from 200 to 60,000 or more end users, althoughamong Asia Pacific entities the average is 1600 users.

Worldwide, the average IT budget in 2000 was about $100 million versus $45 million for Asia-Pacific regioncompanies.

Personnel costs actually make a larger dent in the average Asia-Pacific IT budget than in the rest of theworld, even though people costs are cheaper, Payne found. That's because proportionately larger portions ofworldwide IT budgets went into external service providers and infrastructure and proportionately less intostaff.

Recovering from the 1998 slump, applications development last year represented 46 per cent of the typicalAsia-Pacific budget against a worldwide figure of 16 per cent.

Between 1996 and 2000, function points measured as application support workload have remained fairlyconstant at two-thirds of the ROW average.

Asia-Pacific shops load more software onto their Unix servers and push hardware performance harder than anyother region, Payne found.

The database showed Unix servers in Asia-Pacific typically cost twice as much as Windows NT installations inthe region, but half as much as their ROW cousins.

The proportion of NT systems in use as applications servers has already surpassed Unix plaforms in themid-range area; however, Unix is still the preferred heavy-duty workhorse.

Asia-Pacific budget spend on NT application servers is line-ball with the rest of world. Unlike themainframe area, where Asia-Pacific makes comparatively greater use of outsourcing than ROW shops, littleoutsourcing of NT applications is evident to date.

As the newest toy on the block, IT departments prefer to keep it in-house at present but as that attitudechanges, outsourcers of mid-range NT applications will be presented with a market opportunity, Paynesuggests.

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