A new global survey to be published next week has found only one in ten IT projects is delivered on time.

The survey, carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), reveals the poor performance associated with IT delivery failure could also be linked to lower profits and poor business outcomes based on the responses of 1,125 IT professionals based in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

In nearly half of companies surveyed on behalf of HP, 25% or more of IT projects are delivered late; and in 57% surveyed, no more than one in two IT initiatives produces positive business outcomes. A survey of reveals a clear link between slower delivery of IT projects and services and lower business profitability.

“In business, speed is increasingly of the essence. It is cause for alarm then that so many of those surveyed deliver IT projects late,” said Denis McCauley, director, Global Technology Research for the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“Companies that succeed in accelerating IT project and service delivery have a significant advantage, while those that do not may suffer at the hand of the competition.”

But results also showed delivery is improving, as three quarters or more of IT initiatives in the past three years have had a positive business outcome, improvement in the speed of service delivery has been considerably higher than the average. In high-performance firms – those reporting a rise in profit of 25% or more over the same period – speed of service delivery has also improved more than in others.

The survey showed that accelerating speed of delivery does not have to aversely affect quality or positive business results. When project overruns do occur the culprits are usually midstream changes to business priorities and poor coordination between IT and business managers. Better definition of business requirements, greater investment in IT process automation and more collaboration across IT functions are the primary solutions for accelerating time to delivery.

“The new reality is that technology doesn’t just support the business – technology powers the business. IT risks are now business risks,” said David Gee, vice president of marketing, Software, HP. “Today, CIOs are measured on overall business outcomes such as how fast they can help the company launch new products and bring new distribution channels online. It’s no longer just about delivering only on technology service-level agreements.”

The EIU white paper, “Technology at the Speed of Business,” will be available for download on its website.