From mobile commerce and home networking to business intelligence, here are the technologies Gartner says CEOs will pursue as they escape the downturn
While the economic gloom may be far from over, companies believe technology will be key to their post-recession future.
According to a survey of CEOs and other senior business execs by analyst house Gartner (IT), nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) see IT as playing a crucial role in their post-recession strategy.
The survey also found that nearly half of the execs (43 per cent) plan to increase IT investment levels next year and that only 13 per cent are planning cuts.
Next year business chiefs will be looking to IT systems to help them cut costs and increase revenues, Mark Raskino, research VP at Gartner, said.
"CEOs are looking forward to a period that is difficult and that is characterised by slow, grinding growth.
"In these circumstances there is a need for a continued focus on improving inefficiencies and that is what technology has always been used for.
"The other area they are interested in is using tech as a way of driving revenue growth, which is a relatively new idea that has come about recently in the era of CRM and the internet," he told silicon.com.
With most corporate IT departments ripe for fresh investment after relatively low levels of IT funding during the economic boom of 2005 to 2007, here are the five technologies that CEOs are likely to invest in next year, according to Raskino.
Better data collection and retrieval systems
"These systems make a lot of sense in this climate as the CEOs are looking at growth but it will be grinding—it will not be strong or easy.
"Companies have already done a lot of emergency cost cutting and it will be important that they have the data to find those places in the company where inefficiencies still exist.
"It is about saying 'let's X-ray the business to find more savings and business opportunities'."
Home and remote working
"With unemployment up and businesses still slow to hire new staff, companies have to get the performance increase they want out of their existing workforce.
"Giving staff the tech they need for remote working allows businesses to stretch their existing workforce into new geographies, and have people work out of different locations without having to hire new staff.
"It also provides ways of cutting back on travel bills. A company I have spoken to recently is looking at how it can use videoconferencing to cut back, not just on its international air travel, but also on its rail travel within the UK.
"Greater introspection over costs among senior management means the business case for these technologies is much stronger now than it has been in the past."
"Mobile commerce has been predicted as being important for the last 10 years, but in the last two years there have been important steps forward such as the rise of smartphones, a better understanding of mobile advertising and the beginnings of realistic mobile payment systems.
"All of those developments coming together means that mobile commerce is starting to move towards the prime time and therefore is an IT priority."
"Businesses need to be able to track and keep up with changing customer behaviour—for example, as we all start to save more and concentrate on paying back our mortgages.
"In the retail sector the supermarkets face a lot of difficult decisions such as the price points and specials they offer, or whether to sell more or less organic food.
"The fundamental rules of business are changing and there needs to be a lot of analysis of key data streams to predict which way the wind might blow."
"In difficult economic times businesses are more likely to take shortcuts and employ stronger business tactics.
"This leads to more opportunities for companies to take action against each other and in that more litigious environment the need for a good e-discovery system to keep of track information comes to the fore."