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eFinance spend continues in Ireland Back  
Despite the global economic slowdown, Irish companies are continuing to spend on e-commerce. This is one of the key findings in ‘The unexpected eIreland’, which is part of the fourth annual survey on European e-commerce carried out by Accenture. Over three quarters of Irish executives said they plan to increase their e-commerce spending over the next twelve months.

The reasons given this year for such a bullish attitude to investing in e-commerce differ from last year’s desire to acquire new customers. This year Irish businesses are focussing on building strong customer relationships through customer relationship management (CRM) packages and on making use of the efficiencies of electronic back office and supply chain systems.

Competitiveness, cost cuttings and better service are all key reasons for investing in e-commerce. Forty five per cent of respondents to the Accenture study said that they are using e-commerce to help reduce their operating costs while sixty five per cent are using it to stay ahead of their competitors.

The report reveals that over eighty per cent of Irish executives have had success with their e-commerce initiatives and it is believed that new forms of e-commerce (wireless, voice, television) will continue to improve everyday business. Another finding of the report is that ninety four per cent of Irish executives feel the adoption of e-commerce is vital to national competitiveness.

As competition for foreign direct investment in Europe gets tougher, Ireland finds itself competing with other advanced digital economies like Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, therefore continuous investment in IT infrastructure is very necessary. An interesting detail in the report is that Irish executives in comparison to their European counterparts view their Government as an ‘exemplar of e-commerce’, this is probably based on the huge success of some e-government projects, most notably the Revenue On-Line Service (ROS) which collected •1.5billion in its first year of operation.

Accenture collect the data for the report through telephone interviews with board-level executives across 25 countries. Thirty one per cent of respondents were from the manufacturing sector, twenty three per cent from financial services, twenty per cent from technology, thirteen per cent from resources and utility and thirteen per cent from the public sector.

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