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Technology spending to rise again

The true measure of corporate commitment to technology--spending--will grow again this year, a study indicates.

While some businesses have turned to technology to regulate their employees' Net access, a study released today says access fuels productivity and that executives place technology spending high on their agendas.

Nearly 40 percent of 300 executives polled expect to increase their IT spending this year, while 44 percent plan to maintain last year's levels, according to a Nightly Business Report/BridgeNews poll. The report marks the first on this topic for the group.

Executives favor technology investment for the information and productivity it brings, rather than as means to generate revenues, said J. Walker Smith, managing partner at Yankelovich Partners, who conducted the study.

Business leaders look at getting the right technology in much the same way an NBA club looks at picking the right draft choice, Smith said.

While the respondents' companies spent an average of $95,000 on technology last year, their technology spending worked in tandem with the size of their sales.

Companies with sales under $25 million plan to spend an average of $47,000; companies with sales of $25 to $99.9 million budgeted about $587,000; and companies with sales in excess of $100 million said they would spend $1.9 million for technology.

The survey participants said they would dedicate about 21 percent of their capital investments to technology this year, such as buying new computer equipment, updating existing computer and office equipment, and developing a corporate Web site.

Listing the most important technological developments in the 1990s, access to the Internet ranked No. 1, followed by the networking of computers, fax machines, software packages, and increased capabilities of PCs.

A study released by International Data Corporation earlier this year said U.S. companies and individual consumers bought a total of $253 billion in IT products in 1996.