Manufacturers set to open IT wallets: survey

Manufacturers are proving resilient to the dismal IT spending regime pervading the marketplace, according to a new survey that shows companies in Australia and New Zealand are ramping up IT investments over the next 12 months.

The Global Manufacturing Survey 2002 claims 56 per cent of CIOs worldwide expect to have bigger budgets next financial year.

Findings in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) are even more optimistic with 62 per cent of IT managers planning e-commerce and CRM projects.

The global survey of 530 manufacturers across 40 countries reveals 38 per cent of ANZ manufacturers have projects in the bag with IT managers preparing to invest in sophisticated technology infrastructure over the next financial year.

Survey findings show that the desire to extend enterprise resource planning (ERP) investments by implementing surrounding technologies such as CRM, e-commerce, business intelligence and supply chain is alive and well.

About 47 per cent of ANZ respondents plan to deploy a new application in the budget year ahead, but they were mainly from mid to larger sized firms; about 92 per cent have fewer than 500 users and annual IT budgets of around $5 million.

The survey was sponsored by manufacturing IT vendor SSA Global Technologies and the company's Asia-Pacific president Martin Ambrose said most of those surveyed have not yet deployed a full suite of enterprise applications.

He said ERP is widely deployed as the first enterprise application, but even financial planning and forecasting software still has a long way to go.

"What the survey is showing is a real enthusiasm for customer-facing applications such as CRM and e-commerce worldwide as the need for differentiation in more competitive markets increases," Ambrose said.

More than 60 per cent of respondents anticipate increases in IT spend of 5 to 10 per cent.

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