The most popular use of the Internet in UK organisations is to snoop on rivals. Instead of transferring files or communicating with their customers and suppliers, organisations prefer using surf-time to check up on their competitors in cyberspace.
This was one of the conclusions of an IDC survey, commissioned by Hewlett-Packard into the 'information age'. Out of the sample base of IT and company chiefs in 50 organisations across a variety of sectors, half said they had a Web presence. However, in most cases the sites are used primarily to display advertising material, or were created as a me-too exercise.
Instead of debating the meaning of the information age, respondents were concerned with how to exploit it. Nearly all those polled said they were making massive changes to their organisations because of technology, while 90 per cent said it would impact on their business. Maybe because of this, the respondents believed they would use their Web sites to carry out electronic commerce.
However, UK plc is still concerned with IT issues such as security, and the cost of communications. There were also worries that the pace of change was too rapid, which could hinder the way IT is being developed to address business goals.
On the issue of whether their current IT meets their business goals adequately, a worringly 46 per cent said no. Peter Agar, deputy director general of the CBI, said: ?Managers are aware they need to exploit the opportunities [the information age will deliver], but they do not know what those opportunities are.? They are also not convinced that IT has delivered what has been promised of it, he added.
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