Techies and finance squaring off over IT spending

When it comes to spending money on tech, finance and IT directors agree on one thing – it's a great idea in theory. While both sets of directors agree that technology has a key role to play in determining the how competitive a company will be, when it comes to actually forking out for the tech, almost half of IT directors believe their bean-counting equivalents don't realise the need for future spending.

When it comes to spending money on tech, finance and IT directors agree on one thing – it's a great idea in theory.

While both sets of directors agree that technology has a key role to play in determining the how competitive a company will be, when it comes to actually forking out for the tech, almost half of IT directors believe their bean-counting equivalents don't realise the need for future spending.

Results from Siemens Financial Services' Smart Funding show that although 84 per cent of CFOs believe that their company is convinced that IT is worth spending money on, only 56 per cent of their techie equivalents think they're right.

It's all a case of awareness, apparently – the moneymen not knowing just what IT can mean for their business in real terms - a theory borne out by the gap between perception and reality in IT budgets that the research exposed.

Despite the fact that 63 per cent of all the directors surveyed felt that the pressure to splash the cash on IT was on the rise, only 35 per cent had actually upped their budgets.

Mark Lycett, leader of the Fluid Business Research Unit at Brunel University, believes that the director divide could have a knock-on effect on the competitiveness of British business as well as individual companies.

"Given some of the key trends identified in the report, not least the static or falling IT budgets and the fact that a large number of finance directors are solely responsible for IT funding decisions, there is a potential risk of underinvestment, which may harm the long-term profitability of UK plc", he said in a statement.

However, when it comes to deciding what the most important way is to judge how worthwhile a tech purchase might be, the overwhelming majority of tech and finance directors agree (85 and 91 per cent respectively) that it is finding out how its total cost of ownership compares to the benefits it brings.

Silicon.com originally published this article on 19 November 2003.