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UK businesses prioritise technology to overcome the downturn, says BT survey


Some 42 per cent of senior executives in large UK companies see investment in new technologies as one of their key priorities to achieve business growth and cut costs over the next year, according to new research released today by BT Global Services.

The independent survey of 300 board-level executives, commissioned by BT Global Services, shows that nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of senior executives at UK companies and government organisations believe that better use of technologies has had a role in fighting the recession over the past year.

Over two-thirds (68 per cent) of businesses now rank future investment in faster computer networks, flexible working and managed ICT services as priorities to become more efficient and cut costs in the next 18 months, alongside other key growth objectives, such as sales promotions, new product launches and better staff training.

More than a third of companies (37 per cent) plan to spend money on faster and more reliable network technology, in particular in the financial services industry where 52 per cent of institutions believe faster, low latency networks for trading and information sharing will give them competitive edge. A third of all companies surveyed also plan to spend money on flexible working technology as a route to sustainable financial success and helping them manage staffing and property needs.

Mark Quartermaine, President of BT Global Services UK Markets, said: “What is encouraging is that this survey shows that many businesses in the UK feel they’re on the start of the road to recovery. The way they do business has already changed significantly, but the signs are there that continued investment in new technology and processes will help them do more with less and remain competitive on the global stage.”

Despite the investment plans, some 83 per cent of the managers polled are preparing to do more with less to make sure their business stays competitive on the global stage, believing that some of the technology investments they have made during the downturn are putting them in a strong position for recovery.

“The road to recovery is not the same for all industries,” said Graham Opie at research firm, Vanson Bourne. “There is a wide range of opinions and approaches across different industries. Whilst over three-quarters (78 per cent) of public sector leaders feel the recovery will be slow, less than a third (31 per cent) of their private sector counterparts agreed.”

Retail managers showed the most optimism, with 70 per cent of respondents confident about their prospects next year.

In terms of spending, more than half of managers in the financial services (60 per cent) and transport sectors (52 per cent) said their companies needed to invest in technology in order to grow. Marketing spend is a high priority across the board, particularly in the financial services sector, where 76 per cent of executives said it would help their businesses to grow.

Meanwhile in the logistics industry, respondents felt they had weathered the storm well, with 39 per cent suggesting that their business didn’t suffer at all. Logistics firms also had the widest spread in terms of spending plans, with more than half prioritising investment in training (51 per cent), promotions (51 per cent), product and service development (53 per cent) and marketing (57 per cent).


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