November 7, 2006 Toronto – Overall, today�s technology executives seem captive to the pace of change in their environment. Simply meeting the challenge of keeping their organization�s technology operational and integrated on a short-term basis is an all-encompassing responsibility. Most appear to have a difficult time removing themselves from the day-to-day rigors of their role and charting a long-term vision for their organization�s technology needs.
Efficiency and productivity have always been the touchstones for expected advances in business due to computing. In the past, gains in these areas came from common tasks being done more quickly and with less effort. Indeed, the good majority of technology executives continue to feel that IT has its most positive impacts in the areas of operational efficiencies and business productivity.
However, executives recognize that as computing increases in sophistication it pushes efficiencies in new and interesting ways. The survey findings point to two key areas that technologies are pushing the envelope for businesses:
The growing sophistication of and reliance on enterprise software (CRM and ERP), and
The commitment of business to mobile computing.
In many ways, the sense among executives is that they have essentially rung the rag dry when it comes to improving the efficiency of common tasks, and the future of investing is in computing that fosters growth.
Rather than helping to execute common tasks more quickly and with less effort, computing today is creating efficiencies by linking data and enabling mobile computing. The business leaders in this survey indicate that they cannot live without enterprise software and that this is an area for increased investment. Enterprise software does more than move process efficiency, it enables businesses to serve their customers more effectively thus increasing demand for their services/products and making their businesses more profitable. Enterprise software is a growth investment rather than strictly a cost cutting (through efficiency in common tasks) investment.
Mobile computing is cited by these executives as an area that will have the greatest potential positive impact on their business in the future, and half cite “mobilizing the workforce” as the greatest positive impact from IT. Given the benefits of mobile computing and the advances in connectivity, hardware, and software, these results should not be surprising. Mobile computing gets more people out of the office and in front of customers and clients. Employees can stay connected to their important customer data without being physically connected to the office. Investing in mobile computing is another investment in growth rather than cost savings. Accessibility and mobility are the future of business according to the executives surveyed. Without making this investment they will be left behind.
But, does the continued commitment to “old fashioned” hardware investment signal a lack of forward thinking? Not necessarily. The commitment to “old-fashioned” hardware is tied at least in part to the growing reliance on enterprise software. The advanced software required to foster growth cannot be run on 486’s and outdated server boxes, nor can it all be run on a PDA. Businesses need to continue to invest in new hardware in order to keep up with advances in software and mobile technology.
According to the research findings three-quarters of executives say that IT is increasing as a percentage of their budget — and nearly a quarter say IT spend is increasing by more than 20% this year. Thus, businesses are not only putting budget into “old-fashioned” hardware, they are also making investments in computing that will spur further growth of the business.
The research for this study is based on primary data collection. A total of 133 companies were selected to participate in the second quarterly study for the Ipsos Executive IT Panel research program. Data was collected from October 12-25th, 2006.
One senior respondent was qualified and interviewed from each company. The prerequisite qualification for each respondent was that they be senior decision makers within their company in either an IT or business executive capacity. This included CIOs, CTOs, Directors and Managers; business executives included, CEOs, Presidents, CFOs VPs, LOBs, Directors and Senior Managers.
The research was conducted using two parallel approaches: an online survey and a telephone interview. No aspect of the survey or interview was revealed to the respondent prior to the interview to ensure the validity and spontaneity of responses.
A sample of 133 provides an overall margin of error of +/- 8.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Base sizes reported in tables and charts are unweighted, in order to gauge actual statistical significance.
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