Boardroom battles over the reliability of technology is holding back IT investment, according to the annual Telewest Business ICT Spend Survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The disagreements mean that only 43 per cent of senior executives are planning to boost ICT budgets in 2005, compared to 58 per cent in the previous 12 months.
Directors said they value IT, but want to see more measurable return on investment. Twelve per cent of UK executives and a quarter of business managers do not think that their IT networks are cost-effective, with only one in five viewing their ICT programmes as 'excellent'.
And 91 per cent of respondents believe that their companies should require budgetary justification prior to any IT spend.
Gareth Lofthouse, for the Economist Intelligence Unit, commented: "Chief executives are aware of the benefits of technology, [but] want to see plausible evidence that their investments are increasing productivity and profitability."
The report claimed that a quarter of all chief executives believe that business executives within their organisation need to better understand technology. Some 38 per cent also believe that IT in turn needs to better understand how business works.
Interestingly, half of all chief executives would like to have access to mobile working solutions to help them with their hectic working lives. However, only 35 per cent of chief information officers made this a top priority.
"Business and technology executives are still having trouble agreeing on the success of ICT projects, but investments need to be made to maintain competitive edge," said John Cunningham, director of business services at Telewest Business.
Eight out of 10 respondents cited improving customer relationships as their top priority, with 68 per cent seeing ICT as important to achieve this goal. Nearly two-thirds of directors see ICT as an important means to lowering costs and maximising efficiencies.
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