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Columnist
Local firms expect to boost IT spending, hiring later this year
By Anna Marie Kukec | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 7/9/2010 12:00 AM

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While most of the economy has been waffling, technology appears to be a bright spot.

Oakbrook Terrace-based Comptia (www.comptia.org), an association for technology professionals, has released a survey that shows some encouraging signs that companies will be spending money to hire tech-related positions and boost their networks.

The Comptia IT Industry Business Confidence Index shows six in 10 IT firms expect revenues for the last half of this year to significantly or moderately exceed earlier this year. Executives for tech companies also expressed optimism for the future.

"Technology spending at most organizations either stalled completely or was relegated to the most essential of new purchases, such as security or storage solutions during the recession," said Comptia spokesman Steven Ostrowski. "Yet even as customers reined in spending, IT companies continued to call on their clients."

Less than three quarters (72 percent) of IT companies surveyed said they did not pull back on the number of sales visits they made during the recession. That suggests that IT firms have good visibility into what their customers might be planning to spend the remainder of this year; and there is some pent-up buying in the pipeline, Ostrowski said.

The online survey sampled 306 U.S. tech companies during mid-June. Respondents included resellers, hardware and software vendors, distributors and retailers, consultants and others.

The hot tech jobs appear to be programmers and application developers; help desk support, sales staff, project managers, network engineers, Web development and others.

"We're not suggesting that there will be robust spending," said Ostrowski. "In fact, the research firm Gartner earlier this month expected global IT spending in 2010 to hit $3.35 trillion. That would be an increase of 3.9 percent over the $3.225 trillion that was spent in 2009, but a drop from the 5.3 percent growth Gartner had predicted earlier this year."

Surfing: Irvine, Calif.,-based Real Estate Disposition LLC is holding a 10-day online auction starting Saturday at www.auction.com that includes about 200 foreclosed homes in the Chicago and suburban area. The auction will end with a live event at 6:30 p.m. on July 20 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center. A firm spokesman said the foreclosed homes are now owned by banks, which handed over the properties for sale.

•Here's a chance to have your voice heard. Speak up about the Comcast-NBC Universal merger at a hearing starting at 1 p.m. on Tuesday at Northwestern University Law School, 375 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago. Comcast has its Midwest headquarters in Schaumburg.

•Schaumburg-based Sparton Corp.'s Defense & Security unit, which is in Florida, has signed an agreement with National ICT Australia, to collaborate on research on prototypes and products for security applications used at ports, airports, subways and rail stations. This includes chemical biological, radiologic and nuclear sensors, facial recognition systems, video enhancement technology and more.

•On Saturday at 1 p.m., Edward Wilkerson from Lincoln Park Zoo's IT department will give a presentation on how the zoo is heading up a website for animal health monitoring nationwide. The website is built using a do-it-yourself, content management system called DotNetNuke. The program is for the Chicago Area DotNetNuke Users Group, of which Naperville-based Gnu Ventures is a founding member. E-mail don@gnuventures.net for details.

•Follow Anna Marie Kukec on Facebook and LinkedIn and as AMKukec on Twitter.