Internet has a rosy business future, CEOs say

Executives from large U.S. companies see a bright future for the Internet in business, according to a new study that cites computers and the Internet as the technologies destined to have the greatest positive business impact by 2005. But right now only 7 percent of executives believe the Internet is the most important technology for business, according to a study by Yankelovich Partners and Deloitte & Touche LLP

Executives from large US companies see a bright future for the Internet in business, according to a new study that cites computers and the Internet as the technologies destined to have the greatest positive business impact by 2005.

Today, only 7 percent of executives believe the Internet is the most important technology for business, according to a study by Yankelovich Partners and Deloitte & Touche LLP, which surveyed 400 top executives at large US. corporations. However, three times as many executives said they believe the Internet will become the technology with the largest positive effect on business by 2005, the study said.

A slightly higher percentage of executives -- 22 percent -- said computers will have the greatest impact on business by 2005.

In addition, half of the executives surveyed said they would eschew printed newspapers by 2005 in favor of reading their business news online, according to the study, entitled the Millennium Survey. A whopping 91 percent of the executives surveyed said the Internet will be an important news source for their business by 2005, while only 50 percent said they plan to continue reading printed papers by that date. They will also turn to e-mail and corporate intranets for news relevant to their businesses -- 74 percent said e-mail would be an important news source, while 80 percent said an intranet would also be useful for news gathering.

But news isn't the only thing driving executives to turn towards the Internet. Most cited e-commerce as an important tool for business in the next several years. Eighty-seven percent of the people surveyed said their companies used the Internet, with 69 percent using it to sell products and services. The Internet is also useful for conducting market research, upgrading software, teaching online classes and advertising jobs -- for which 55 percent of companies now use the 'Net, the respondents said.

More information about the Millennium Survey can be found on the Deloitte & Touche site on the World Wide Web at http://www.us.deloitte.com/.

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