Forrester Research B.V. (Nasdaq: FORR), today used its Leadership Forum Europe at Amsterdam’s Okura Hotel as the platform to exclusively unveil new research into the attitudes of European business executives’ technology investment strategies.

In March 2002, Forrester surveyed 212 CIOs, CTOs, and IT directors throughout Europe about their technology spending. In his keynote presentation “Bringing Technology Into Balance,” Matthew M. Nordan, research director at Forrester’s European Research Center, outlined the survey’s conclusions. He said, “Significantly, the research shows that while the downturn has negatively impacted many European firms’ tech investment today, Europe’s executives are committed to technology and resolve to increase spending within the next two years.”

In contrast with the late 1990s when their budgets rose every year, the executives that Forrester surveyed indicated that most companies either shrank or held steady their IT budgets in the first three months of this year, and they do not anticipate a change in the foreseeable future. When we asked what actions their companies had taken in the past six months with regard to technology spending, an overwhelming 72 percent said they had encountered new, specific pressure to reduce IT costs. One in four respondents had delayed projects already in the works, and one in five are now canceling projects.

“However, in contrast to the pressure to cut technology costs, European firms still depend on technology to drive growth,” Nordan added. “Of those that had decreased their budgets, the top two reasons were the overall economic downturn and weak individual company performance — not that technology was getting less important. Indeed, companies are still relying on technology for growth, as evidenced by their future spending plans. Three-fourths of respondents expect their budgets to rise — in fact, they expect them to be a whopping 53 percent bigger in 2005. Nearly half expect to increase headcount, by an average of 43 percent. Companies are going to keep plowing money and bodies into technology because they have to.”

Anchored by a panel of business leaders and senior Forrester analysts, the Forrester Leadership Forum will provide attending executives with an unprecedented opportunity to debate the issues and concerns surrounding the future of business technology. It will address how European firms can maximize profits from today’s eBusiness technology, leadership, and partnerships. It will help attendees prepare for the next wave of online technologies after Web-enabled processes and understand what applications and new combinations of hardware and software will be required.