IT has improved the profitability of over half of the world's major companies, according to a survey out last week.
The survey, commissioned by management consultancy Compass, revealed that 54% of the world's largest companies attribute their IT systems to directly improving corporate profitability.
This compared with 38% in 1993.
The Compass Computing Strategy Census report also showed that worldwide corporate spend on IT has risen to an average of 7% of total costs, up from 6% in 1993. Only the UK has held its IT spend proportion at a steady 7% over the last three years.
The areas benefiting most from IT are the financial and government sectors. They are also the biggest spenders, noted the survey.
IT has also taken over strategic planning in the boardroom. According to the report, about 20% more of a company's corporate strategy now depends on IT than it did in 1993. The percentage of corporate operations now depending on the use of IT systems stands at 60% worldwide. Broken down by region, the US leads the way with 64% of operations depending on IT, followed by the UK on 60%.
Kit Grindley, professor of systems automation at the London School of Economics, who conducted the research on behalf of Compass, commented: "All countries, led by the UK, are now clearly bullish about the return from IT spend. The change is due to the increasing applications of IT to business improvement schemes."
He acknowledge that the most serious criticism of IT investment has been the difficulty of measuring the benefits.
"The figures suggest that this criticism can be expected to fade, as companies stop looking unrealistically for sure-fire gains simply by applying IT to existing operations, and accept the customary business risk of using IT to enable new business strategies."
The survey was based on IT directors from 150 major corporates in the UK, US, Germany and Scandinavia.
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