While the economy exerts a strong force on the budget process, there are several technology and other factors that are having-surprisingly to some-little or no impact. Microsoft's Windows Vista, for example, was expected to hit its stride in 2009 as companies cyclically refreshed their desktop systems. However, Vista is expected to have little or no impact on IT budgets."Microsoft has given a mixed signal with Windows 7, and support for XP will continue," said Tinnirello. "We don't have Vista now and we have no plans for it in 2009. We've got an environment that works. It's stable and tuned where we want it." Wilson said he is making preparations for Vista but will bypass it if possible. "We're going to do the work to go down the Vista road. When we get close, we'll look at Windows 7, and we may go to Windows 7 instead," Wilson said. "There are people who would give their eye teeth to skip Vista." Even though many instances of Vista are likely to appear in enterprises when new systems are purchased or employees bring in Vista laptops and expect to plug them into the corporate network, experts and IT pros are saying the budget impact of Vista will be negligible in 2009. "I don't see Vista as being a factor. But you could see it later in 2009," Bartels said. IDC's Minton concurred: "Vista migration is not impacting IT budgets in a measurable way, but if the economy is better, there will be more companies upgrading to Vista." Meanwhile, despite widespread interest in cloud computing-in which remote computing resources are accessed and deployed self-service-style via a Web browser-the phenomenon is having little budget impact. Like Vista, cloud computing did not show up in the top 10 technology categories in the SIM survey. And even though green IT is gaining significant mindshare, green initiatives are having little immediate budget impact. "There are areas of green IT where people are spending more, but it's not causing a spike in spending," Minton said. Opinions were mixed on the influence of the presidential election on IT budgeting. "The election will have an influence-whether there is relief at the corporate level or more taxes. Companies may be forestalling their budgets pending the outcome of the election," Tinnirello said. Bartels disagreed: "There is no impact at all from whomever is president. Both Republicans and Democrats will be positive on technology."
Indeed, many companies are seeking to skip over Vista and move directly to its successor, which Microsoft has been calling Windows 7. In large numbers, IT managers are finding the benefits of Vista do not outweigh the time and expense of testing and deployment.