Barometric Pressure

PricewaterhouseCoopers' Technology Barometer outlines e-business trends.

New York  April 5, 2001  As they continue with their enterprise-wide transition to e-business, leaders of most large technology businesses have a long to-do list. But they are proceeding with caution, remaining vigilant for changing business models and a number of other potential roadblocks on their pathway to success. These are highlights from the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers Technology Barometer, released today.

Leading executives from large technology businesses are focusing on five major e-business priorities over the next 12 months:

· Creating a better e-business infrastructure is number one, cited by 57 percent. Better integration of the front- and back-ends of the business was also specifically mentioned by 47 percent.

· Developing greater revenue in U.S. markets is a close second in importance, noted by 54 percent. In contrast, only 29 percent mentioned need for greater commitment to revenue growth abroad.

· Driving costs out of operations  for example, through use of B2B purchasing consortia  ranks third, cited by 47 percent. A related priority, consolidation and optimization of supply chains, was specifically mentioned by 26 percent.

· Introducing new, more-targeted Web-based products and services was cited by 43 percent. Supporting this initiative are two related priorities: greater competitive differentiation of their Web site, its products and services (36 percent); and availability of more personalized products and services (23 percent).

· Hiring critical e-business personnel to further develop and operate these systems was mentioned by 41 percent.

It's going to be a challenge for these business leaders to accomplish all of their many individual priorities over the next 12 months, but their eyes are on the prize. Their checklist covers the important bases, said Paul E. Weaver, global technology industry group leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

And what potential threats or vulnerabilities do these leaders see to their e-business success over the next two years?

· Changing business models was cited by 41 percent

· Slowness to adapt the Net across their company structures was noted by 35 percent

· Uncertainty about competing technologies was mentioned by 34 percent

· Determining which new business options have the greatest potential on the Net was noted by 33 percent

Some of these concerns could only be alleviated by a clairvoyant eye, noted Mr. Weaver. But as these business leaders have rightly suggested, speed looks far more like a management opportunity than a potential problem when it comes to making a company-wide transition to e-business & particularly when competitors are making this a priority.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' quarterly Technology Barometer focuses on rapidly growing technology businesses of all sizes. It incorporates the views of 369 top industry executives: 150 CFOs and managing directors of large, publicly held businesses, including technology subsidiaries and divisions, and 219 CEOs from smaller, privately held companies.