The global computer network has been hailed by enthusiasts as a communications revolution. But the survey of senior managers at major companies showed that only 35 per cent rated the Internet as an effective business tool.
Many companies with Internet access do not use it, according to Martin Walter, chief executive of the International Visual Communication Association, which commissioned the poll with the electronics giant Sony. He claimed that "surfing the net" may even be responsible for decreasing productivity because of the time wasted trawling through the on-screen pages.
"Just getting into the Internet can take as long as 45 minutes. We have heard of one or two companies that have actually banned employees from using it in office hours," said Mr Walter.
"The IT [information technology] industry continues to rave about the success of the Internet in revolutionising business and personal communications. However, the reality is very different."
The survey involved telephone interviews with 320 senior line managers of the largest companies by turnover in finance, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and utilities.
Managers were chosen in equal numbers from marketing, sales training and information technology departments.
Most agreed that visual communications, such as video conferencing and personal computer slides, were important, with 80 per cent saying they wanted to improve this aspect of their operations.Reuse content