Few companies address IT purchasing strategically, according to report from Siemens Financial Services.
Its Technology Acquisition Report, which interviewed 100 finance directors from UK companies with over 500 employees, found that 45 per cent of companies have only a short-term technology spending strategy.
And the report says that UK companies are less likely to lease IT equipment than their US counterparts.
"It is a mindset thing," said Kirstine Wilson, marketing director at Siemens Financial Services.
"Only around 30 per cent look at leasing for IT but if you look at assets such as vehicles - where there is a lot of obsolescence - the figure is much higher. But there is now an acceptance of the accelerated cycle of obsolescence and refreshment in IT."
IT investments are made in cash by 68 per cent of companies. The report suggested this indicated impulse purchasing rather than a measured approach.
Over 50 per cent of respondents expect to renew desktop hardware at three-year intervals but had no fixed timetable for back-end hardware renewal or software products.
Seventy eight per cent also said that reviews of technology happened "as and when", rather than according to a timetable. But budgeting for IT is assessed more regularly, with IT financing being reviewed yearly by the majority of companies.
System security, security of information, and use of technology to gain competitive advantage were seen as the top three reasons for IT purchasing.
Leasing IT systems is less popular in the UK than it is in the US, with 32 per cent of UK businesses funding their technology in this way compared to 70 per cent in the US.
Although UK firms are comfortable with leasing schemes for other business tools, such as office equipment and cars, this has yet to penetrate to IT spending.
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