CIO Priorities over the Next 3-4 years

How CIO's Can Stay Relevant to the Business in a Rapidly Changing Environment


Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | Editorial team

To stay relevant to the business in a rapidly-changing external environment, the CIO and IT department need to be as agile as the infrastructure they provide to the business, and as open to new ways of working as the broader organisation. Today’s IT agenda, then, is not about keeping things ticking over – i.e. being ordinary and maintaining the status quo. New requirements emerge so quickly that it has become impossible to predict what’s coming down the line, so there is a growing need to be ready for anything.

This furious running to stay on top of things is reflected in market analyst forecasts about changing CIO priorities. Market analyst firm IDC, issuing its top 10 predictions for CIOs’ agendas in 2014, indicates that the quest for boldness and positive change is causing IT leaders to challenge the perceived risk associated with trying something new. It suggests that, within the next two years, over 70% of CIOs will change their primary role from directly managing IT to become an innovation partner, and that 70% of CIOs will overcome risk aversion to seek to accelerate business agility through increased cloud adoption.

 CIO Agenda: IDC Top 10 Market Predictions for 2014

IDC further predicts that enterprise business mobility will require 60% of CIOs to support an agile architecture with next-generation mobile applications. Contrast this with the high proportion that is currently allocated to maintaining existing infrastructure. A survey conducted by IBM and IDC, cited in a 2013 paper from IBM Institute for Business Value (Moving from the back office to the front lines: CIO insights from the Global C-suite Study), found that a lack of scalable, extensible IT systems can prove very costly in the long run. Just keeping servers running typically consumes 65% of the IT budget in companies with a basic data centre. One reason, the study found, is the need to patch systems that are now used to perform tasks they were never designed to do, or to perform them on a scale that wasn't previously envisaged.

Gartner, meanwhile, points to the growing need for IT simplification, as organisations strive to optimise and drive excess costs out of their operations. In 2013 research, which explores five key principles commonly followed by organisations showing high maturity in their cost optimisation practices, Gartner highlights a correlation between IT complexity and an absence of agility. Expanding on this theme in its own predictions for 2014 and beyond, the analyst firm points to the growing sophistication of cloud services providers which are "re-inventing the way IT in which IT services can be delivered.” If enterprises want to keep pace, they need to think in terms of ‘Web-scale IT’, Gartner argues. This "looks to change the IT value chain in a systemic fashion…[looking] for every opportunity to reduce cost and waste.”

But in the process of looking for opportunities to remove complexity and cost, CIOs must also keep an eye firmly on the scope to by 2017. By as soon as 2016, 80% of the IT budget will be devoted to providing a broad portfolio of IT and business services.

[ Read more?  This article is an extract from: Cloud Infrastructure Services in 2014 - A CIO's Guide ]

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