<p>CHICAGO – Many big companies worldwide are spending more and more on new communications technologies such as online training and instant messaging without giving up their old ways, a new study says. "Something has to give," says Hal Stirkin, a senior vice president and leader of Boston Consulting Group's global e-commerce practice in the consulting company's Chicago office. BCG surveyed 123 large corporations in the United States, Europe and Asia. The technology and business processes of big multi-nationals often lead the way for smaller organizations, such as credit unions. "The findings . paint a picture of widespread spending on new applications without coherent strategies or tracking systems ensure that potential gains are realized," he says. "Worse, it appears that the availability of new communication technologies, and not the business case for their usage, is driving many corporate initiatives." The growth is being seen in such things as videoconferencing, up 9% in 2001 and expected to increase 17% in 2002; instant messaging, up 3% in 2001 and seen increasing 10%; and online training, up 12% last year and expected to increase 18% this year. Similar increases were reported in teleconferencing, e-mail use and online communities. Meanwhile, the BCG consultants found, there have not been corresponding declines in more-established communication modes and in fact some of the new technologies may be undermining productivity by creating competition for employees' time and creating information overload. To generate value with the new tools, organizations need to rigorously study their business processes and replace the old with the new only where appropriate, BCG's report says.</p>

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