Growing scepticism about the productivity benefits of IT investments has prompted industry heavyweights to join forces to convince customers to boost their technology spend.
Founding members of the Information Work Productivity Council (IWPC) include Accenture, BT, Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Microsoft, SAP and Xerox. IBM is expected to join soon.
The council will fund research into IT productivity and put together case studies of best practice in implementing IT systems from US and European companies.
Jeff Raikes, head of Microsoft's client division, will be chairman of the IWPC for the next two years.
The council is expected later this week to announce a decision to fund research by a new centre at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management. The centre will receive $4.5m (£2.85m) over a three-year period.
Spending on IT has slumped dramatically since 2002, according to figures from IDC.
Although the analyst predicts total worldwide IT spending in 2003 to reach $852bn (£544bn), up 2.3 per cent on last year, the new figure is lower than its previous forecast of 3.7 per cent, largely due to continued worldwide uncertainties.
At the same time, a report by management consultancy McKinsey & Co published in November 2002 singled out just three sectors where IT had had a quantifiable impact on productivity. These were semiconductors, retail and financial services.
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