While industry experts debate the timing of the next major wave of information technology (IT) investing, a new nationwide survey of 287 IT decision-makers makes it clear that measuring the value of technology investments will be a major factor in future spending. The findings also indicate that executives such as CEOs and CFOs will be much more involved in the process.

The IT Value Study, sponsored by Dell and conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide, highlights the need for a greater focus on helping customers quantify the value of IT investments. While a majority of respondents said expected value of the investment was the largest determinant of IT spending approval, an overwhelming 95 percent said current metrics to measure value are inadequate.

"Given the current economy, value has taken center stage with senior executives," said Joe Marengi, senior vice president, Dell Americas. "While many businesses have been focused on the cost of technology, it's clear from this survey that businesses are also looking for a better way to measure the total value derived from technology expenditures. "This new research, combined with the tens of thousands of direct conversations we have with customers every week, suggests that overall IT value is seen as one of the most critical assets for competitive advantage," added Marengi.

Other highlights of the IT Value Study include:

  • 72 percent of the large companies surveyed rated return on investment (ROI) as being of high importance versus 49 percent for total cost of ownership;
  • Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of decision- makers said IT purchasing at their firm has come under increased scrutiny in the last 12 to 18 months;
  • Even with the intense scrutiny, 89 percent of those surveyed said that their companies plan to maintain or increase technology spending over the next 18 months;
  • Four in 10 respondents believe that there was too much spending on Y2K – but that currently there is too little spending on basic IT infrastructure (51 percent) and security (68 percent).

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