The Roundup: E-Business Spending Turns Conservative

AMR: E-Business Spending Turns Conservative
A quarterly survey on e-business spending by AMR Research, Boston, Mass., found that companies plan to increase their overall e-business budgets by 7% over the next 12 months, down from 11% in the previously quarterly survey.

AMR conducted interviews with 100 executives with IT spending authority at companies with more than 1,000 employees. The survey found that companies “are focused on improving customer management with less focus on supplier management,” AMR reports. The survey found that executive priorities also include increasing efficiencies by streamlining their internal processes and reducing overhead through appropriate technology.

“Executives have been consistent throughout the last two quarters in prioritizing their e-business spending on customer management enhancements and sales initiatives, both areas where progress can be made for successful long-term advantage. Many executives view the current economic atmosphere as a time to maximize their existing tools and resources rather than continuing with large incremental investments in new customer or supplier applications,” according to AMR’s report.

The bottom line from the survey: Companies will increase their e-business budgets over the next year, but will do so more conservatively.

  • 41% of companies plan to increase their budget on sales and customer management initiatives, down from 48% measured in Q2.
  • 31% plan to increase their budget spending on supplier management initiatives, declining from 37% in Q2.
  • What’s becoming more active? Internal e-business initiatives, including employee self-service, electronic finance, knowledge portals, and risk management, with 33% of companies planning to increase spending, up from 25% in Q2.

IT Training, Certification Route to Advancement
A new survey from the Computer Technology Industry Association (Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.) and Prometric (Baltimore, Md.), an IT training and certification firm, shows that IT training and certification are keys to increased productivity, credibility and compensation for IT pros.

The 2001 Global Training and Certification Study polled nearly 18,000 IT managers, certification candidates and certified professionals. It was conducted by Gartner Consulting to better understand global training and certification needs and to provide more information about how and why IT training decisions are made.

Among the findings:

  • IT professionals and managers consider technology training and certification to be critical to career development and quality control within IT departments. 66% of professionals certified indicated that their salaries increased after becoming certified, and 52% cited increased productivity as a reason to seek certification.
  • 64% of IT managers cite a higher level of service as a key benefit of having certified staff, followed by a competitive advantage (59%) and increased productivity (57%).
  • The survey also indicated that employers take IT training very seriously. 53% of IT managers have allocated budgets for employee training, indicating corporate endorsement.
  • Six out of 10 IT managers say that when they develop budgets, certification is included, and can account for up to 25% of the total training budget. Nearly 40% of IT professionals underwent IT training due to a recommendation from an employer.
  • Certification and training are key factors in employee retention and satisfaction. Contrary to some theories, the survey showed that professionals who gain certifications do not obtain the certifications in order to change jobs. 71% of certified professionals surveyed did not change employers after gaining certification.
  • 90% of managers stated that certified employees offer substantial benefits with few drawbacks, indicating that employers and managers clearly recognize the value of training and certification for a multitude of reasons, including employee development.

Editor’s note: For a report on how certifications are boosting compensation for many IT workers, read last week’s Roundup by clicking here.

Life in the Slow Lane is Just Fine
Nearly three-quarters of the dial-up Internet subscribers in the United States are content with the quality of their Internet service, which is bad news for high-speed providers trying to convince consumers to switch to broadband.

According to a survey by Parks Associates (Dallas, Tex.) of 2,500 U.S. households done in July, almost 75 percent of the 46 million dial-up Internet subscribers in the United States fall into the categories of “somewhat,” “moderately,” or “very” satisfied with the quality of their Internet service.

Analysts say that a majority of new broadband subscribers in the next few years will be households using dial-up or narrowband service. Michael Greeson, senior analyst and director of broadband research for Parks Associates, says, “Broadband service providers are banking on an increasing number of these subscribers becoming frustrated with dial-up service, which makes broadband seem more compelling. But if dial-up customers remain pleased with the quality of Internet service at $15 to $25 per month, providers are going to have a tough time selling broadband at $45 to $50 per month.”

Many broadband marketing campaigns are touting the ability of high-speed Internet access to view rich media content or make downloads quicker. But the main reason cited by narrowband users not intending to upgrade to broadband is that dial-up is “good enough” for their Internet needs.

-This item by Michael Pastore on, an site.

Terror scares boost Q4 online spending

eMarketer, a New York Internet research firm, reports that U.S. online consumer spending will hit $10.7 billion in the fourth quarter, which includes the lucrative holiday shopping season. That figure represents a record quarter for the Internet and a 20.2% increase in spending over the same period last year.

Compared to the 2000 holiday season, 14.1 million more people in the U.S. will buy online this year than last, eMarketer reports. Driving the trend is a growing sense that shopping online is perceived as more convenient and safer than going to malls.

Exactly how much consumers will spend online is subject to some debate. Nine research firms offer nine different figures, ranging from $9.5 billion to $12.4 billion.

According to eMarketer, during the fourth quarter 58.7 million U.S. residents will buy online, spending an average of $182.25. However, moving forward, the deteriorating economy will negatively impact online sales as well as overall consumer spending.