A new report released by research company Gartner outlines technology's chances for influencing business development in the new year and states that as long as companies plan with caution, IT investment will remain a viable option for business growth in 2002.
The report mentions several sectors of the IT industry -- including security and privacy, outsourcing and mobile technology -- and how businesses may invest in each in order to recover from hardships faced in 2001.
A common theme connecting the areas in which companies spend their money will be the need to see financial rewards quickly, said David McCoy, vice president and research director for Gartner.
"[Companies are] not going to spend anything on a long-term project. It's got to return immediately," he said.
One of the areas where McCoy thinks companies will spend much of their money is security. But he worries that businesses, in response to the September 11 attacks, may be overzealous in their security spending at the expense of other areas of their IT budgets.
Some of the money companies spend toward security and privacy will be "siphoning off investments that could go elsewhere," he said.
Another area in which companies may decide to venture into is outsourcing, according to the Gartner report. Current economic conditions may force a company to re-evaluate the core of its business, McCoy said.
"If something is not part of your core, get rid of it," he said.
The Gartner report also includes technology trends that have the potential to help a company, regardless of the state of the economy.
Mobile technology can offer quick results, said Nick Jones, a research fellow and vice president at Gartner Europe.
"You can get short-term returns, but you have to be very cautious," he said.
This is why Jones thinks taking a low-risk approach and investing in handheld devices that deal with mobile e-mail or mobile extensions for CRM (customer relationship management) may be a company's best bet.
One concern Jones has about mobile communication technology, however, is that some companies may be caught with a limited number of employees qualified to explain these technologies to new users. In fact, Jones claims that some companies will have to turn to outsourcing to implement new mobile technology.