More than 79 percent of business executives recently surveyed by IDC believe that information technology (IT) is important to a company's success. And more than 50 percent of these same business executives rated IT as absolutely mission critical. With over 58 percent of business executives further asserting that the importance of IT to their companies' success is increasing, the verdict is in: IT is indisputably fundamental to a company's achievement.

"On some levels, the survey confirms what IT professionals already know – that technology can provide businesses with a competitive advantage," said John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC. "What's surprising is the broad acceptance of technology among non-IT professionals. With business executives spending an average of 26 percent of their time dealing with IT on a business level, leaving technology decisions up to the IT professionals is a thing of the past."

Almost half the 280 business executives surveyed in January and February 2003 consider themselves a key part of the IT decision process. Additionally, over 30 percent of these executives claim that their level of influence in IT decisions is increasing.

When asked what their top three concerns were for IT supporting their business, more than half the respondents noted reliability and up time (70 percent), security (56 percent) and performance (52 percent). "These concerns are consistent with what IT professionals say they worry about," added Nicole Comiskey, research manager at IDC. "This suggests that these three aspects of IT weigh heavily on the minds of business and IT executives alike."

Other survey results included:

  • Less than 40 percent of business executives' companies employ formal metrics to evaluate the performance of their IT investments, and 74 percent of companies never go through the process of formally reviewing their IT projects.
  • Quality and reliability are the most important factors when choosing a primary vendor for IT products and services.
  • Nearly a quarter of IT spending in 2003 will be allocated to new initiatives.

The study, “Crossing Over: Business Executives and IT Decisions,” explored the differences and similarities in how business and IT executives view the current IT market. IDC interviewed 280 non-IT executives to gain their perspective on the use of IT in their organizations. The majority of these executives represented the most senior levels of corporate management and the results were weighted by the distribution of IT spending among small, medium- size and large companies.
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