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Study says execs remain bullish on IT

A new study by IDC says senior business executives plan to enhance their focus on information technology this year, in another signal of better times for the tech industry.

Senior business executives are getting more aggressive in the way they use information technology, according to survey results announced Wednesday.

The executives say they're spending about 20 percent of their time dealing with IT-related matters and that this engagement is likely to grow through the year, according to market researcher IDC. On top of that, a majority of those surveyed indicated that their companies should use technology more aggressively to support business strategies.

IT issues are getting the increased attention because executives consider it critical to the success of their business, IDC said.

"A growing level of executive commitment combined with the desire to 'play offense' with technology supports the argument that IT matters and the vast majority of business executives clearly understand this," Frank Gens, senior vice president of Research at IDC, said in a statement.

A hot topic in the tech community last year was an article in the Harvard Business Review called "IT doesn't matter," which argued that information technology no longer gave companies that use it a competitive advantage.

Increased attention to IT matters by businesses augurs well for the technology industry. Last week, IDC predicted a 5 percent increase in global technology spending in 2004. Business IT investments were up nearly 16 percent in the last quarter of 2003, the company said.

But there won't be a return to the boom days any time soon. IT spending growth will continue to recover along with the overall economy, but CEOs remain cautious, and most decision-makers will continue to be cost-conscious and unlikely to authorize big-ticket purchases, IDC said.