IT directors looking for a rapid pay-back on investment are concentrating on projects that allow flexible working and generate income from e-commerce and mobile commerce.
Despite fears of a slowdown in the economy technology spending is still considered crucial to meet business objectives, according to eight out of 10 senior directors surveyed by analysts IDC for a report commissioned by Microsoft.
Only 25% of businesses extend their use of technology outside routine areas such as e-mail, collaboration and Web sites. Half see the best return on IT investments only from internal areas like improved efficiency.
But this is set to change. Although at present just 14% of IT directors see technology leading to improved profitability they are increasingly demanding that suppliers explain how they can get maximum value from their investments.
The use of technology to obtain competitive advantages from flexible working is at the forefront of IT spending, with two-thirds of UK firms planning to invest in this area.
The number of companies with an e-commerce strategy is expected to rise from 73% to 88% and those with online transaction Web sites from 53% to 75% in the next 12 months. The proportion with a mobile commerce strategy in place is expected to increase from a third to a half in the same period.