Senior Execs Increase Net Usage

Senior executives in the world’s major markets are going online more often, and are becoming more comfortable using the Internet, according to an Andersen Consulting survey.

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The survey of more than 1,700 leaders of some of the world’s largest companies and government organizations compared executives’ use of the Web in 1998 versus 1997, and shows that the geographical gaps in access have narrowed. Senior executives in countries such as Australia, Spain, and the UK have become wired to the Net and are venturing online more frequently. This increased usage may spur the worldwide senior-level support that is required for the rapid expansion of global e-commerce.

Globally, Internet access enjoyed by CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs (the so-called “c-suite”) increased slightly: 92 percent had Web access in 1998, compared to 90 percent in 1997, the study found. Of those with access, 83 percent went online at least once a week in 1998, compared to 71 percent in 1997. Half of all executives say they “feel comfortable” online, up from one-third a year ago.

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Despite advances made by executives around the world in Web usage, American senior executives remain more likely to shop online. According to Andersen, nearly two-thirds currently shop online, significantly more than in other nations. Executives in Canada (48 percent), the UK (39 percent), and Australia (39 percent), were the next most likely to make personal purchases online.

“With the convergence of computing, communication, and content technologies revolutionizing the way business and government is conducted, it’s really no surprise that more senior executives are online more often,” said Andersen Consulting’s C. Rudy Puryear. “What is surprising is how rapidly the global field of play is leveling for executives who increasingly understand, appreciate, and use the technology. The challenge now is to bring e-commerce into their companies.”

The study also found that more Japanese senior executives are going online once a week (81 percent in 1998, up from 72 percent in 1997), but they continue to be the least comfortable using the Web and rarely shop for goods online. According to the survey, 15 percent of Japanese executives expressed comfort and familiarity in using the Net, and only 13 percent have shopped on the Web.

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