A report from IDC has found that the most popular use of the Internet in UK organisations is to pry on rivals.
Almost a third of organisations said they use the Internet to look up competitor information. In comparison, only 7.5% said they use the Internet for file transfer, sales or communicating with customers and suppliers.
The survey, commissioned by Hewlett-Packard and unveiled at the company's Information Age conference with the Confederation of British Industry last week, was carried out in May among 50 of the UK's biggest firms.
Although most firms are optimistic about the future of technology, the report found that many applications are being underused, while there is a high degree of dissatisfaction with IT. Just under half the companies surveyed believed their current IT set-up is not adequate to meet their business goals.
Peter Agar, deputy director general of the CBI, explained: "Managers are aware they need to exploit the opportunities (the information age will deliver), but they do not know what those opportunities are."
While 80% of respondents have Internet access, their Web efforts tend to be half-hearted, the report found. Half of the respondents said they have Web pages, but almost two thirds of these admitted their only reason for doing so was "because everyone else has one".
Most companies are not technical innovators, and only 16% believe IT is a significant contributor to their competitive advantage. Only 20% of respondents said their IT was leading edge. The majority (52%) described their IT as an "attempt to stay on track", and keep up with competitors.
Ironically, only 2% said they were generally disappointed with the impact of IT on their organisations.
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