IBM Survey Unearths Growth Agenda

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2004-02-26 Print this article Print

The results of a survey of 456 top industry executives confirm that business leaders are loosening the purse strings on technology budgets with an eye toward revenue growth.

NEW YORK—There is more evidence that the IT spending freeze has thawed. IBM Business Consulting Services this week released the results of a survey of 456 top industry executives, the results of which confirm the attitudes reported elsewhere: that business leaders are loosening the purse strings on technology budgets with an eye toward revenue growth. The finding confirms a shift in attitude away from the severe cost cutting of the previous three years. The survey was carried out in October and November of 2003 by partners in IBMs Business Consulting Services division, which consists mainly of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, which was acquired by IBM in 2002.
"In our industry, cost-cutting your way to success just isnt an option," said Joseph Reiser, CEO of Locus Pharmaceuticals of Blue Bell, Pa. He added, "We want to develop better drugs, we dont want to spend time fixing computers or making them faster."
"Clearly, growth is back on an agenda," said Ginni Rometty, managing partner of IBM BCS. The survey covered business entities with more than $500 million in annual revenues, including independent companies and units of large corporations. IBM BCS Partner Eric Pelander said that to set aside cost containment and pursue revenue growth, the executives surveyed said they need to make their companies much more responsive to customers than previously. They also questioned whether their employees have the necessary skills to achieve growth through heightened responsiveness. Pelander, who interviewed an insurance company CEO and a credit card company CEO as part of the survey said, "Both were on the hook to deliver value to their shareholders. They need to get more growth. Cost containment is not enough." He declined to name the executives he surveyed, citing a confidentiality agreement with them. Pelander noted that the survey had a tilt toward companies based in the Asia and Pacific regions. "Half the sample was Asia-Pacific," he said, adding that of that amount, half were companies based in Japan. Next page: Major barrier to growth: Dearth of skilled professionals.

Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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