A recently published survey of information technology practices in the industry reveals a trend is under way toward technology standardization at many firms.

The turn to uniform operating systems, protocols and applications is demonstrated in the 2003 Information Technology & E-Business Survey of A/E/P/ & Environmental Consulting Firms recently released by ZweigWhite Co., Natick, Mass.

The percentage of company leaders who say their firms are "extremely homogeneous" in their information technology rose from 36% in 1999 to 45% today, with 58% of the respondents saying they hope to move toward even more standardization in the next 18 months.

Data was collected in February and March from 118 firms answering 186 questions about their IT plans and practices. Topics include data link protocols, project Website use, CAD applications, data storage, communications, staffing, training and spending.

One third of the firms anticipate spending more on IT this year, with a median increase of 10%, while 20% expect their IT spending to drop a median 20%.

The report costs $275 and may be ordered at www.zweigwhite.com