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18 May 2011 | ITSM
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Global CIO Study Reveals Today's CEOs and CIOs Strongly Aligned on Future Challenges and Complexity
Global study reveals a significant increase in the focus CIOs place on Cloud Computing...

Results from a global study of more than 3,000 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) released by IBM today, reveal that for the first time, CEOs and CIOs are strategically aligned in their thinking around future challenges and complexity, with both groups focusing on insight and intelligence, client intimacy and people skills to drive organisational strategy.

The CIO Study shows that 57 per cent of CIOs anticipate more change and complexity in the next five years while 55 per cent of CEOs anticipate the same.

Sixty percent of organizations are ready to embrace cloud computing over the next five years as a means of growing their businesses and achieving competitive advantage. This figure nearly doubles the number of CIOs who said they would utilize cloud in the 2009 CIO study, and is one of dozens of new insights and trends learned from CIOs worldwide in businesses of all sizes.

As demand for ever-growing amounts of information continues to increase, companies are seeking simple and direct access to data and applications that cloud  computing delivers in a cost-efficient, always-available manner. The use of cloud, which began in supporting deployments mainly inside companies, has now also grown common between organizations and their partners and customers. In the 2009 CIO study, only a third of CIOs said they planned to pursue cloud to gain a competitive advantage. This year’s study shows a dramatic increase in the focus on cloud, particularly in media and entertainment, which rose to 73 percent, automotive (70 percent) and telecommunications (69 percent). 

From a country standpoint, seven out of 10 CIOs in the US, Japan and South Korea, and 68 percent in China, now identify cloud as a top priority. This is dramatically up from 2009, when CIO interest in cloud hovered at about a third in each of these countries. 

The study also found that more than four out of five CIOs (83 percent) see business intelligence and analytics as top priorities for their businesses as they seek ways to act upon the growing amounts of data that are now at their disposal. CIOs are also increasingly turning their attention to mobile computing to keep pace with the fast-changing marketplace. As the proliferation of mobile devices with enhanced functionality and mobile applications that support business productivity and new market opportunities continues to grow, mobile computing and mobility solutions are now seen by nearly three-quarters of CIOs (74 percent) as a game-changer for their businesses -- up from 68 percent in 2009.

Among other trends identified from this year's study:

  • Analytics and business intelligence hold the most interest in the chemical and petroleum, consumer products and healthcare industries, where 91, 89 and 86 percent of CIOs surveyed, respectively, cited it as part of their visionary plans to increase competitiveness over the next three to five years.
  • 95 percent of CIOs in South America (excluding Brazil) and Canada see analytics and business intelligence as their competitive differentiator.
  • Mobility solutions were identified most in the travel (91 percent), media and entertainment (86 percent) and energy and utilities (82 percent) industries.
  • Risk management is a top issue in the finance and banking industries, where more than 80 percent of CIOs said they are focusing their attention.

"As technology becomes both an enabler of competitive advantage and embedded in every facet of the enterprise, the role of the CIO has never been more essential," said Jeanette Horan, vice president and Chief Information Officer, IBM.  "This study provides key evidence of how the capabilities of IT are aligning perfectly with the aspirations of business leaders. The winners will be those companies that understand the power of technologies like cloud, analytics and mobility, and can harness that power to transform their businesses."

Additional key findings of the study:

  • Simplification is a driving issue for CIOs as more than 80 percent said they plan to lead projects to simplify internal processes.
  • For the first time, the CIO's vision of the future is almost identical to that of the CEO. Together, their top three focus areas are strengthening relationships with customers, developing the skills of employees and gaining insight and intelligence from data.
  • A wide array of innovative methods and tools are being sought to turn "big data" into real, actionable information. This ranges from master data management (68 percent) to client analytics (66 percent), data warehousing and visual dashboards (64 percent) and search capabilities (59 percent).
  • The CIO is no longer looked upon as 'Chief IT Mechanic' but is now recognized for extracting value from technology and insight from complex systems.
  • Cost-cutting is here to stay as CIOs strive to do more with less and drive creativity and innovation.

Just as analytics, cloud and mobility have become dominant areas for CIOs, other areas are taking up less of their time, although this does not mean they are any less important. Virtualization, risk management and compliance, for example, have moved down on the CIOs "visionary plan list" but this is the result of virtualization become more mainstream (and less the specific responsibility of CIOs) and risk gradually moving to a dedicated risk officer.

 “Strong alignment between CEOs and CIOs signals closer synergy in investment and resourcing priorities. Today’s CEOs recognise and understand that technology is front and centre in driving organisational change and taking the business forward. CIOs have a key role to play in reducing complexity and helping the CEO shape change and drive business innovation to achieve competitive advantage. The findings demonstrate a common focus over the next five years and prioritises the IT agenda and defines how real value can be added by the CIO and IT overall,” said Matt English, Partner, IBM Global Business Services.

As the role of the CIO transforms, so does the perception of the role within the business. The study indicates four distinct groupings/roles of the CIO which IBM has termed the CIO Mandates.

The four categories include:

1. Leverage – Streamline operations and increase organisational effectiveness

2. Expand – Refine business processes and enhance collaboration

3. Transform – Change the industry value chain through improved relationships

4. Pioneer – Radically innovate products, markets and business models

“The CIO mandate is the empowerment of the CIO to achieve the organisation’s goals by leveraging business and information technology. These mandates will change for each organisation depending on their strategy, their business cycle and where they are positioned in their IT journey. This Study provides key elements of the roadmap for CIOs into the future and insights into the importance of these mandates and how CIOs can use them effectively to help achieve business strategy,” said English.

 “The findings provide an understanding of how CIOs fit into their organisations, how they are positioned with CEOs, and how they can drive real value for their organisations into the future. As the global economy and parts of the Australian economy emerge from the GFC, it is important that IT is fully aligned with the organisations priorities and flexible enough to deal with changes that may occur,” concluded English.

The report also highlights a number of recommendations ranging from strategic business actions and use of key technologies that IBM has identified which CIOs can implement, based on CIO feedback from the study.

To download the full “2011 CIO Study” click on the link or view the video below for more information about the study from Jeanette Horan, vice president and Chief Information Officer, IBM.




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