Europe's largest companies are frustrated by slow response from their smaller suppliers, which have yet to embrace IT in a useful way.
According to a survey commissioned by Cisco - released at the Networld+Interop show in Paris today - European giants require manufacturers, retailers and service providers to have PCs, Internet access, email and other specific software, at least, to get on preferred supplier lists.
PCs topped the expectation list, with 49 per cent of the 140 large businesses surveyed saying their suppliers either had to be using or about to install desktop systems.
Half of large organisations said it took them longer to communicate with smaller suppliers that lacked satisfactory levels of IT usage.
Response from the 420 small business interviewed looked more promising. The majority (64 per cent) claimed their IT investment had increased by between one and 50 per cent. Around 21 per cent of those said investment had jumped by more than 50 per cent.
In the UK, 29 per cent of respondents said their firms increased IT expenditure by more than 50 per cent, with 23 per cent seeing the investment leap by between 25 and 50 per cent.
However, for 40 per cent of UK firms, lack of knowledge continues to be a major prohibitor to IT adoption, followed by 37 per cent citing cost as a turn-off. Seven per cent felt lost because technology was moving too fast.
For Europe as a whole, IT represented between one and two per cent of capital expenditure for the majority of respondents (32 per cent) - although the next largest group (31 per cent) are spending a huge 10 per cent of corporate budget on technology.
The Czech Republic is the biggest spender in IT, followed by UK and Spain.
Although the UK emerged as one of the leaders in IT adoption, 75 per cent of its smaller companies said they did not have a Web site.
The UK had the highest number of companies with an 'island' mentality - those who see the importance of technology, but have yet to build sufficient electronic bridges with their clients and suppliers.
France is portrayed as fairly nonchalant, while 'IT worriers' are more likely to be Spanish. The Czechs are likely to be 'sharers' of technology by using networks. They are also keen technophiles, along with small firms in Germany and the UK.
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