Firms progress slowly in IT investment

Greek firms have only slightly increased their spending on telecoms and information technology this year compared to 2006, according to a survey prepared by the Information Society Monitor. The study, conducted on 1,600 companies in 10 different sectors, found that 57.9 percent of them invested up to 5 percent of their budgets on IT and telecoms. Based on data presented at the CEO Forum of the Digital Technology Expo, the Information Society Monitor (ISM) estimates that despite the small rise in spending on IT this year, the intended investment of Greek firms in such technologies in coming years appears to be above trends elsewhere in Europe. This is considered an indication that IT investment in Greece lags compared to the rest of Europe and there is more room for growth. In line with their European peers, the Greek firms themselves said investment in IT was beneficial in terms of both efficiency and customer service. «Nevertheless,» said ISM President Nikos Christodoulou, «it has to be noted that the most important reasons for the non-utilization of IT is the small size of firms and the perception that new technologies are costly.» ISM data showed that there has been an increase in employment of people with skills in the IT and telecoms specializations. Additionally, about one in two firms employs such specialized personel, with printing and publishing performing best and tourism lagging in relation to the other sectors of the economy. It is also worth noting that Greek firms do not seem to be anxious to invest in upgrading the skills of their staff, as only 27.5 percent pay for them to attend training seminars.