By Doug Bartholomew Two out of five companies plan to increase technology spending next year, while an equal number expect to maintain the current year's level of investment, according to a poll of IT executives on two continents. The survey also found that companies are almost exclusively focusing on projects that either reduce costs or support business goals. Conducted by International Data Group Research, the survey of 458 IT decision-makers in seven countries in North America and Europe was sponsored by Getronics, an Amsterdam-based global IT consulting firm. "The findings confirm some of what our clients are asking of us to deliver -- maximum payback at the lowest possible cost in line with business objectives," says Kevin Roche, general manager, Getronics North America, based in Billerica, Mass. In a shift from the dot-com days when new technologies were hot, business strategy now firmly leads IT strategy. More than four out of five companies responding reported that business strategy had a significant or critical impact on IT strategy. Only 18% of IT executives said they use financial metrics such as a specific ROI formula to measure IT success. Instead, more popular were such metrics as "being on time and on budget" (50%), "decrease costs" (49%), and "increase in productivity" (47%).