The main priorities for IT executives during 2003 will be improving customer loyalty, increasing profits, and reducing costs, according to a survey of 458 international IT executives, conducted by Getronics and International Data Group (IDG).
According to the survey, back-to-basics purchases and cost reduction are watchwords during these challenging economic times, with 41% of the IT executives interviewed expecting to increase spending in 2003, and an equal number planning to spend the same as in 2002.
Of those expecting to increase IT spending in 2003, most of the European spend will be on security, while US executives will be mainly spending on CRM initiatives. Globally, e-commerce and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are also considered priorities.
Almost 20% of companies represented by the respondents are planning to increase their spend on IT outsourcing, with the key factors in vendor selection being service, support and technical competence.
The bottom line
Some 67% of respondents cited "reducing costs" as a top-three business priority for mid-2002 to 2003, followed by 58% for "increasing profits", 52% for "increasing customer loyalty", and 42% for "increasing revenue."
Keeping in mind the ever-increasing need to justify every penny of IT investments, a surprisingly low 18% of the executives currently use formal benchmarks for return on investment (ROI), relying instead upon on-time and on-budget metrics to measure the success of their existing IT investments.
However, the survey found a significant difference between the US and Europe on this issue, with around 33% of US respondents measuring ROI, compared to only 15% of European companies.
"This research provides insight into current IT thinking, and plans for the future," noted Kevin Roche, general manager for Getronics North America.
The telephone survey, which has been made available as a free download on Getronics' web site, included interviews with 458 IT decision makers in the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France and Germany, during June and July 2002.
Of those interviewed, 40% report to the division or corporate CEO, while 30% report to the head of IT. Multiple industries were represented, including financial services, manufacturing, retail, pharmaceuticals, energy utility, chemical, and telecommunications.
All companies in the US had at least US$500 million in annual revenue, while European companies had at least US$100 million in annual revenue.