Top Investment Priority: IT

Feature Article | August 1, 2012 by Heather McIlvaine

(Photo: istockphoto.com)

In the second annual Gartner-Forbes Board of Directors survey, the information technology sector made a strong showing. Half of the 175 respondents said they would invest in IT in order to compete successfully in the market. Overall, board members listed IT as their highest priority for investment in 2012, along with sales.

Analysts point out that these findings make sense in light of the rather bleak financial outlook companies are facing right now. More than half of the survey participants said they are preparing for a market recession. But that doesn’t mean cutting costs across the board. Investing in IT (and sales) is what will help companies survive in such a competitive market, by finding new opportunities for growth and attracting new customers. A decisive 86 percent of respondents said they think IT will only become more strategically important to the business by 2014.

What are the specific goals that board members hope to achieve by investing in IT?  The Gartner-Forbes survey ranked companies’ key objectives for 2012 in addition to their investment plans. The top five priorities in this area were:

  1. Attracting new customers
  2. Retaining and enhancing existing customers
  3. Focusing on core competencies
  4. Maintaining competitive advantage
  5. Fostering innovation

Looking at this list, it is clear that companies are focused on increasing revenue and profit in 2012. Gartner and Forbes think they will achieve this primarily through IT-enabled business models.

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