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Grow Your Own Way

With scarce resources, companies are rolling out E-commerce projects ever so slowly.

It may be that we haven’t heard the last of business moving at “Internet speed” after all.

Survey Says…a Decidedly Flat Chorus

Many market-watchers say the immediate outlook for E-business is not bright. “Technology buyers have been disappearing faster than Hell’s Angels from an NSync concert,” says David E. Weisman of Forrester Research, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Having surveyed 1,016 Global 3,500 companies in September, Forrester found that fewer than 20 percent had increased E-business budgets, while 27 percent had cut them, often deeply. And 48 percent said more cuts were likely if conditions didn’t improve in the fourth quarter.

Expectations have also been reduced. Forrester found that nearly a third of the companies surveyed expected E-business revenues to decline, while most of the remainder expected them to stay flat. Only a handful of the respondants, primarily in insurance and business services, predicted an uptick. A similar survey by Yankee Group, conducted in August, found waning interest in E-business on the part of senior managers. When the research firm asked E-business decision-makers whether senior management at their businesses viewed the Web as important or very important to overall business strategy, only 55 percent said yes, compared with 76 percent the year before. —S.L.

E-biz Ups & Downs

How E-business budgets have changed in key business sectors since the start of this year.

  • Services: 5.8%
  • Business services: 4.2%
  • Financial (noninsurance): 2.3%
  • Insurance: 0.9%
  • Finished-goods manufacturing: 0.1%
  • Chemicals and petroleum: 0%
  • Global 3,500 average: -0.3%
  • Primary production: -0.7%
  • Retail: -0.8%
  • Intermediate manufacturing: -1.2%
  • Technology and telecom: -2.1%
  • Electricity, gas, sanitary services: -2.8%
  • Wholesale: -3.3%
  • Transportation: -5.3%

Source: Forrester Research

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