Spending Expected in IT, New Service Lines

Press release from the issuing company

Friday, September 16th, 2011

As organizations plan budgets and projects for the year ahead, where will they invest to get the most bang for their buck? According to a newRobert Half Management Resourcessurvey, resources are most likely to be allocated to information technology (IT) systems (35 percent), followed by new products and service lines (21 percent).

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world's premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked,"In which of the following areas is your firm most likely to invest in the next 12 months?"Their responses:

New or upgraded IT systems

35%

Development of new products/service lines

21%

None/will not invest

15%

New locations/real estate

14%

Mergers or acquisitions

11%

Don't know/no answer

4%


100%


"Maximizing current information systems and designing new ones that optimize major processes can improve operational efficiency," saidPaul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. "To build competitiveness and revenue generation opportunities, executives also are willing to fund development of new products and services. Those organizations not planning to invest may be taking a 'wait and see' approach to determine business demand before committing to specific initiatives."

McDonald noted that as companies begin IT project planning, they must carefully prioritize initiatives and the staffing resources these initiatives will realistically require. He notes four common pitfalls and how to avoid them to maximize investments:

  • Cutting corners.Don't let cost be the sole factor in choosing an off-the-shelf solution. Explore potential needs and options for customization prior to making a decision. Moving too quickly and being overly cost-conscious at the beginning stages may backfire later, as companies could face higher costs down the line.
  • Addressing the wrong problem.Make sure the actual system is the issue before launching an upgrade or new implementation. The real problem could be staff training and usage, which would require different resources to resolve.
  • Failing to consider the worst-case scenario.The provider who submits the lowest bid on an implementation might not be considering all variables. Before securing a vendor, consult a subject matter expert so you understand the full scope of the project, identify potential blind spots, and adjust plans accordingly.
  • Relying too much on internal staff.Consider current workloads and skill sets before assigning project responsibilities to employees. Stretching them too thin can result in errors and missed deadlines for project milestones and day-to-day work, as well as lower morale. Bring in reinforcements to focus on the project at hand and assist with ongoing roles as necessary.

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