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Gartner predicts IT can still fuel growth

IT investment can drive business growth in 2002, provided that companies plan and implement new developments with caution, says research company Gartner.

A new report from Gartner looks at key sectors of the IT industry - including security and privacy, outsourcing, and mobile technology - and examines how investment in those sectors can deliver a rapid return on investment.

David McCoy, vice president and research director for Gartner said: "[Companies are] not going to spend anything on a long-term project. It's got to return immediately."

McCoy predicted that companies will spend much of their money on security, mainly in response to the 11 September terror attacks in the US. However, he feared that businesses might concentrate too much on security spending at the expense of other areas of their IT budgets.

McCoy warned that some of the money companies spend on security and privacy will be "siphoning off investments that could go elsewhere".

He urged organisations to re-evaluate core businesses and speed up moves towards outsourcing. "If something is not part of your core, get rid of it," he said.

The Gartner report also investigates technology trends that could offer a profitable return on investment, regardless of market conditions.

Mobile technology can offer quick results, concluded Nick Jones, a research fellow and vice-president at Gartner Europe.

Jones thought adopting a low-risk approach and investing in handheld devices that deal with mobile e-mail or mobile extensions for customer relationship management might be a company's best bet.

One of Jones' concerns about mobile communication technology is that some companies may be caught with few employees qualified to explain these technologies to new users. He suggested that some would have to turn to outsourcing to implement new mobile technology.

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