Plan - perhaps unwisely - to throw hardware at the problemNearly half of UK companies are expecting their core databases to suffer serious performance degradation over the coming year as business users demand more from them. According to research commissioned by UK software development house Isocra, basic functions such as financial reporting and invoicing are under threat as a result of organisations' main databases being overworked. Forty-six per cent of UK companies say they are likely to suffer inadequate response times from their core business databases within 12 months. Five per cent are already experiencing this problem. Fifty-one per cent of companies plan to invest in new hardware to rectify the problem. According to the research, the business functions most affected by a slowing in database performance are financial reporting, invoicing and customer service. Denis Howlett, chief operations officer, Isocra, said: "The research shows there is a massive increase in the demand placed on core databases. The more users, the more strain on the database. The problem is exacerbated by cost-efficiency drives based on increased levels of automation, such as customer self-service, just-in-time supply chains and collaborative working." He added: "The problem is more widespread than we anticipated. Worse, the knee-jerk reaction is to plough investment into expensive hardware." While the majority of respondents are basing their strategy to overcome poor database performance around expensive hardware upgrades, 38 per cent of companies see software - both third party and in-house - as the most effective solution. The survey results are based on 100 interviews with UK IT managers, drawn equally from medium-sized and large companies.