Initial results from a new ENR study of information technology investment trends among contractors shows that firms still are spending lightly on IT and are underresourced in staffing the function.

Among the 143 respondents  to the “IT Cost and Benchmarking Study”—buildng and heavy civil contractors, specialty contractors and some owners—IT investnent is between 0.5% and 0.75% of overall annual revenue, with variation by size of firm (see tables).

Flat growth for the most recent year likely was key to the weak investment, with respondents reporting revenue ranging from -0.02% to 1.6% depending on sector, says Jason Rutkofsky, senior implementation project manager of Burger Consulting. The firm designed and conducted the survey, which includes software firms Plante Moran, Tableau and LightHorse Innovation as partners.

The study explores the correlations between technology investment and deployment, and construction risk reduction and productivity.

Annual revenue of participants ranges from less than $10 million to more than $500 million, with the majority reporting $250 million or less. Responding firms range in age from less than 10 years to more than 100 years, says Rutkofsky. Most have been in business for 10 to 20 years.“Correlation can be made on the level of IT spend relative to the age of the organization, which might lead to a conclusion that younger companies are more progressive” related to level of focus and amount of investment on information technology, Rutkofsky points out.

According to Rutkofsky, the early results also show understaffing in managing IT departments relative to the size of a respondent’s firm. Among the companies, IT is underserved by a full position less than necessary to run the function productively. Firms wth IT led by a manager are in need of a director; those with the function run by a director are in need of a vice president; and companies with a VP leading IT would be in need of a chief information officer, he points out.

There have not yet been enough survey responses to establish firm correlation data, notes Rutkofsky, adding that respondents are still invited to participate. Burger Consulting is expected to make more detailed data available to all participants. The findings are anticipated to provide industry benchmarks that will justify more investment in technology and supporting resources. Those interested in learning more about study metrics, trends in IT staffing and leadership, and software deployment strategy can join a free webinar on June 14 at 2 p.m. EST. Information and registration details are on line at