20 amazing, amusing and alarming IT facts

NFL time wasting, scary data breach numbers and the truth about Green IT

Not that top executives don't have even bigger worries. The top hurdle faced by 300 top executives (such as CEOs and CIOs) surveyed by the Society for Information Management is IT-business alignment. Building business skills in IT, IT strategic planning, attracting new IT professionals and making better use of information rounded out the top 5 concerns.

Of course, there's also the little matter of IT spending. The outlook is still pretty grim, with growth expected to be just 4 percent for the year (down from 6 percent last year), but not all signs are bad, according to the latest Goldman Sachs survey of 100 managers with strategic decision-making authority at Fortune 1,000 companies. On the bright side is that spending intentions on network gear is rebounding (for the next 12 months, 54 percent of respondents said they expect their network spending to grow, and that's up from 42 percent the last time they were asked). However, Goldman describes plans for discretionary IT projects as "anemic."

As for the other type of "green," a third of 75 organizations asked by Cutter Consortium if they have a long-term plan/strategy targeted at reducing the environmental footprint of their IT infrastructure said no, 38 percent said yes and 29 percent said they didn't know. Broken down further, 57 percent of European organizations said they had one vs. 37 percent in the United States.

Regardless of the tough economy, companies are having to fork over big salaries to enterprise applications experts due to a shortage of people with SAP skills, according to new research from Foote Partners. The value of some SAP skills rose between 25 percent and 30 percent over the first six months of 2008 and nearly twice that over the past 12 months. "If you're looking for SAP Web Application Server, Production Planning, Business Objects, Quality Management, Strategic Enterprise Management, Product Lifecycle Management, HCM and MDM module and skills experience, you're suddenly paying a lot more," says David Foote, CEO of the research group.

It might not hurt to brush up on your Ethernet skills, too. Business Ethernet services boomed in the United States during the first half of the year, with the number of installed ports rising 16 percent. AT&T led the way with 21 percent of total ports, with Verizon, TW Telecom and Cox in pursuit, according to Vertical Systems Group.

Who knows, maybe all that new Business Ethernet capacity is helping to stave off a massive Internet outage. Despite prognostications that the Internet is about to collapse from the weight of traffic growth -- especially video -- international Internet traffic grew 53 percent between mid-2007 and mid-2008, down from 61 percent the preceding year, according to a market research firm. For the second consecutive year, total international Internet capacity grew faster than total Internet traffic, leading to lower utilization levels on many Internet backbones, according to market tracker TeleGeography.

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