What do IT managers want for Christmas?

"The stockings were hung by the servers with care,In hopes that St Ellison soon would be there."

(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, 'The Night Before Christmas')A Computerworld poll of IT managers asking what they would like in their Christmas stockings to make daily working life easier unwrapped visions of sugar plums, gadgets du jour and services a la creme.

Ian Birks, COO, Ideas International, said what he wants is: "An all-powerful, combined PDA and phone device that not only does all the sexy things expected of that kind of product in the future, but also helps to automatically bypass all voicemail barriers so that you can actually talk to somebody in the industry live for once!" What an original concept for a communication device!

Birks would also be delighted to find a PC direct vendor or reseller who can actually deliver computing goods in a timely manner, rather than just providing an endless log of excuses and a GPRS-enabled voice-recognition coffee cup. A cup can be hard to find, it seems, after a heavy night of eggnog bashing.

Ally Thorne, IT manager for The Wine Society, wants a bigger capital budget, more training funds and a worldwide understanding that computer systems can't do everything.

Thorne also wants a "big beautiful beefy blonde guy" as her personal secretary, "but it probably wouldn't make my work easier, just a lot more pleasant".

Reefe Brighton, CIO, Aurora Energy, said he wants hardware that doesn't stop working when the three-year warranty runs out. That's the same software, he said, which doesn't all of sudden become obsolete, because the market says so -- despite the fact it is running the same data -- with the same versions of software -- when it was called "state of the art" at the time of purchase. It's also the same software that doesn't "go gaga all the damn time".

Brighton also cares about his fellow man, and he hopes poor virus and Trojan horse developers get to go away this Christmas and "get a life".

If he were Santa, Brighton said, he would be tempted to leave a sense of fair play and some social responsibility in Microsoft's stocking. But "you'd need to get an awful lot of it for them, I shouldn't wonder, before it made a difference.

"On the whole though, I think I'd like to buy Bill Gates' boy a drum set," he added.

Another altruistic wish comes from Steve Tucker, group IT manager, National Jet Systems, who wants "free Windows training courses for all of our users".

An anonymous technical specialist from CSC wants a pocket PC with wireless and Bluetooth that works seamlessly with his mobile, eliminating the need for him to ever step into the office again. He also wants a hands-free kit for his mobile and an automatic quote generation system, which could read vendor price lists, insert product codes, advise clients of ETAs, single-click to change a quote from a purchase, linked through to an secure e-mail system. Would this device eliminate the need for the specialist altogether?.

On a more sobering note, an anonymous IT manager from a manufacturing company, said he wants work for Christmas.

"I've just been informed that I'm leaving in two weeks!! Imagine that - 10 years in IT, MCSE, Grad Dip (Tech Mgmt), worked in government, systems integrator, commercial sectors - and again looking for work!"

Computerworld wishes him a job in 2002. Perhaps Santa is looking for more IT elves.

And finally, Computerworld's personal favourite, an anonymous IT manager from a master trust who said, to make his daily working life easier, he wants a bottle of scotch. Scotch makes our life easier too.

This list has been e-mailed to Santa and his drove of IT elves.

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