Every year a Gartner survey summarizes global CIO priorities, and every year I take a very close look at the findings.
The most recent survey was conducted in the fourth quarter in 2012 and included 2,053 CIOs. These individuals span 41 countries and 36 industries. I like this annual survey because it is a well designed study into the priorities driving US$3.7 trillion of spending on information technology and personnel.
CIO Priorities: the Findings
One of my favorite parts of this survey is that the technology executives are asked about business priorities first. They may be propeller heads at their core, but they understand their primary task is to find ways to align technology with business initiatives and drive strategic results. As a result, top line growth, business expansion, cost control and personnel issues are clearly present in the business priorities. The only item that I’m surprised isn’t explicit ed stated in the business priorities is accelerating product cycles and decision-making.
The technology list is dominated by newer technology that has enough of a track record of delivering disruptive results. The heightened priority suggests that these investments are moving from lab experiments to broad deployment. Cloud and mobile are the talk of Silicon Valley; it’s also found, in my estimation, in 6 of the 10 priorities. Multiyear initiatives where the necessity has out-paced results are also on the list: Analytics, Security, Virtualization and ERP.
Large budget items like desktop hardware, software and support, which in many cases are the largest portions of annual budgets are not strategic topics in this years survey. Likewise, vendor relationships and outsourcing aren’t a priority this year as they’ve been in the past.
- Its going to be a good year for technology in general as top line growth leads the list of priorities
- Its not just that CIOs are spending on cloud and mobile, their organizations are benefiting from these technologies
- Enabling agility from the bottom-up is a big opportunity. From mobile and cloud, to analytics and virtualization, and ERP and CRM, technologies that provide productivity leverage across the organization will be easiest to justify
- Infrastructure investments won’t be slighted. Organizations will strive to move quickly, but with a strong foundation. Security, scalability and maintainability will be built into to major initiatives. This is a correction to previous years where organization were burned by having to spend on remediation and refactoring to fix mistakes of moving too fast.
What do you think? Comments welcome.