Technology Confidence Index reflects steady global optimism

06/30/04

Bullishness on North America and tech investment rises sharply

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- On the eve of releasing its fourth Technology Confidence Index report, via its executive research and analysis unit, the Global Technology Confidence Indicators (GTCI), Stevens Institute of Technology revealed some of the report's compelling data and analysis.

The findings and important trends reflected in the report again include a stark divergence between the views of global senior executives regarding economic growth for North America compared to their assessments of other regions of the world.

The fourth GTCI report again shows business confidence soaring for North America but remaining flat for the world at large, just as presaged in the previous two GTCI reports. As in the third quarter of 2003, there was a dramatic increase over the first three months of 2004 in the number of executives spanning the globe who plan to increase technology investments next year. A sense of optimism pervades the landscape, with only the threat of increased terrorist activity serving as a red flag held low to the horizon.

"Regardless of disparate views concerning growth in North America and Europe, the belief that emerging technologies and products will improve future company performance is shared by executives around the world," said Dr. Derek B. Smith, former President of 'The Economist' Asia/Pacific and now the Director of Stevens GTCI. "This is, of course, excellent news for technologists, as exactly 50 percent of our respondents anticipate increasing the number of technologists they employ over the next year. The slump in technology hiring would seem to have met its cyclical end."

"Hardly anyone sees a fall in their rate of tech investment over the coming year," said Jerry MacArthur Hultin, Dean of Stevens' Howe School of Technology Management, "The GTCI report shows that the confidence boom is at full thrust. The economic boom, with high-tech job creation, has just begun."

"Our quarterly Technology Confidence Index is based on data obtained from our exclusive Senior International Executive Members," said Smith. "Our membership of high-powered international executives has been carefully built to represent a diverse set of the world's largest organizations across multiple industries." Panel members represent Global 2000 companies and organizations, most of which have a minimum of $1 billion in sales.

"One of the key features of GTCI is in identifying where gaps in confidence occur between economic decision makers (EDMs) and technical decision makers (TDMs)," said Smith. "Using GTCI reports to identify these critical gaps, organizations can improve the alignment of technology management objectives between their economic and technical managers."

"Clearly," said Stevens President Dr. Harold J. Raveché, "the GTCI Index has become an authoritative source for predicting future trends."

THE GTCI INDEX
The Global Technology Confidence Index (GTCI INDEX) stayed stable in the three months to April, when the fourth survey was administered. This kept it to two points above the base set by the inaugural survey in May 2003. Despite the very high level of confidence found in the first two surveys, the index moved up a point by January and, three months later, that confidence has held steady so that the fourth iteration of the index becomes:

October '03 January '04 April '04
The GTCI INDEX 101.1 102.1 102.1

This index is a mixture of confidence in the business outlook and confidence in various aspects of technology management, with the later having much the greater weight.

The comprehensive GTCI REPORT, to be released tomorrow, provides highlights of key findings and a detailed analysis of survey data. In its fourth outing, the report covers six major categories, including: 1) Business Outlook, 2) Human Capital, 3) Technology Alignment, 4) Technology Innovation, and 5) Strategic Project and Process Management, and 6) Technology Management. Eric Koomen, GTCI Project Coordinator, illuminated some of the key findings.

"Globally, optimism about business in the year ahead is about the same as three months ago," said Koomen. "But not in North America, where bullish sentiment has increased over the very high levels found in the last GTCI report, to stand more than 13 percent up over May 2003." The comparative numbers in the GTCI INDEX look like this:

October '03 January '04 April '04
GTCI Business confidence Index
(World)
107.0 106.8 107.0
GTCI Business confidence Index
(N.A.)
111.2 112.7 113.2

"Satisfaction with technological innovation performance was high and steady over the year," Koomen continued. "More than 60 percent of respondents see their performance in managing technology as above par for their sector. Cost reduction programs in all areas are no longer the top priority they were a year ago. Obviously, should these trends continue into the fall, there are tremendous implications for the way in which events may unfold in this highly political year of 2004."

Among other report highlights, the importance of new products to sales faltered – but not in Japan; confidence in evolving technologies is unchanged, remaining high and steady and, while almost nobody thinks the effectiveness of their strategic project management capabilities has deteriorated over the last year, three quarters think they have improved.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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