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August 24, 2004
Information Technology Spending in United States Expected to Increase

IT is Principal Factor Behind Corporate Productivity Increases, But Executives Concerned Over Inadequate Return on IT Investments

NEW YORK; August 24, 2004 – The majority of business and information technology (IT) executives in the United States anticipate increases in IT expenditures over the next three years, according to results of a survey released today by Accenture.

The study, which queried more than 300 general business managers and IT executives of large U.S.-based companies, found that more than half (55 percent) of all respondents expect their organizations to increase their IT expenditures over the next three years, with only 10 percent expecting their organizations to decrease IT spending.

In addition, of the 84 percent of respondents who indicated that productivity at their companies had increased over the past several years, most identified IT-related factors as key to that increase. Specifically, more than four-fifths (83 percent) cited “better use of technology” and nearly two-thirds (65 percent) selected “the right amount of investment in technology.”

However, the survey identified several areas where the business managers were disappointed in the effectiveness and impact of IT. Most notably, nearly half (47 percent) of business managers and more than half (51 percent) of IT executives said their companies did not know how to make their technology organizations accountable for delivering real business value. In addition, more than half (52 percent) of the business managers said that IT is under-delivering relative to what their companies spend.

“Aligning IT strategies to business objectives is one of the most fundamental factors for deriving value from technology investments,” said Gary Curtis, managing partner of Accenture’s Strategic Information Technology Effectiveness (SITE) practice. “Unfortunately, achieving such alignment is one of the areas that many companies find most challenging.”

The survey also found that business managers and IT executives at companies where alignment between IT expenditures and overall company goals was viewed as strong were much more likely than their counterparts at companies where alignment was viewed as weak to:

  • believe that overall and IT-based productivity have increased in the past few years (89 percent at “strong” companies versus 68 percent at “weak” ones);

  • engage their business units in creating IT budgets (71 percent at “strong” companies versus 28 percent at “weak” ones); and

  • believe that their companies are making the proper level of IT investment (58 percent at “strong” companies versus 26 percent at “weak” ones).

“Information technology can have an enormous impact on how well and how quickly a company can achieve its business goals, but it can only do so if IT investments are in tune with corporate priorities,” Curtis said. “The companies that are most successful in achieving their goals engage top management in the key IT investment decisions and create a culture in which business and IT executives collaborate extensively.”

About the Study
The Accenture study was based on an online survey conducted in June and July 2004 by S. Radoff Associates on behalf of Accenture. A total of 302 executives were surveyed at U.S. companies with more than 5,000 employees and median annual revenue of $10 billion. Half of the respondents were IT executives whose titles included CIO, vice president or director. The other half of the respondents were business managers whose titles included senior manager, vice president, director, division/department head, executive vice president, and c-suite positions. Complete survey findings are available at www.accenture.com.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills, and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With approximately 95,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$11.8 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2003. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

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