A study by technology consultant Accenture surveyed 150 C-level executives regarding their outlook on the economic slowdown and their level of satisfaction with recent technology investments.
The results reveal that many executives believe the slowdown will allow them to focus on cost reduction and enable them to gain more sector prominence as the marketplace shake-out eliminates competitors.
More than half of the executives surveyed reported that eliminating poor business models is the bright spot of the current bleak economic climate, while 39% cited the absence of new capital as the most negative effect of the downturn.
David B Rich, the global industry managing partner for the electronics and hi-tech industry group Accenture, said that the survey results might indicate a renewed interest in e-business as senior executives seek to eliminate inefficiencies in their operations.
"The by-product will be more highly educated C-level [executives]... regarding new technologies, particularly the Internet," Rich said. "They will focus on using the Internet to eliminate inefficiencies."
The executives surveyed believed that the most beneficial new technology investments made in the past two years were in supply chain management (SCM), customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology. Investments in SCM impressed executives in the retail and manufacturing industries, while executives in financial services, insurance and real estate companies valued CRM investments most.
SCM and ERP investments received high marks from executives because they are aimed squarely on streamlining operations, Rich said. As companies begin their annual planning process, these technologies are skirting the budget axe even in the trying economic environment, he said.
"When times are good, you overlook inefficiencies," Rich said. "When things get slow, you begin to ask yourself, 'Why do I have 150 order management systems? Why do I have 13 procurement systems?' "