What do Top Executives see as trends and priorities for CIO’s and IT?

3 February 2015

Agility and Security are Top Concerns
Again in the 2014 survey, agility, or the ability to adapt quickly, was the #1 mandate, with data security rising to the top of “areas of concern”. Security breaches reported in the news tend to boost security concerns among non-IT C-suite members, while CIOs are feeling increasing pressure to be agile in an environment of growing complexity.

Big Data and Analytics Lead 3rd Platform Technologies in Perceived Business Value
Big Data and Analytics has emerged as the strategic value leader among 3rd Platform technologies, particularly among the lines of business – and the LOB are now clearly taking the lead in purchase decisions. While both groups see business value, IT is also beginning to see potential for business transformation.

The C-Suite (but not the CIO) sees a Zero Capital Model for IT on the Horizon
All executives with the exception of the CIO see the idea of a Zero Capital Model for IT gaining ground, although decision-making about The Cloud is seen as the domain of IT. There seems to be support in principle for the “commoditization” of IT, but the critical factors and processes inherent in this issue do not seem to be well understood by all stakeholders.

NEW This Year: CIO Styles
The CIO style most frequently chosen in answer to the question “how would your CEO define you?” was Business Service Broker, over Chief Innovation Officer and Operational CIO. Interesting to note:
1. European CIOs are more often defined as operational than their Canadian counterparts.
2. Re. Impact of CIO Style on the Organization: CIOs defined as Chief Innovation Officer more often came from organizations where IT is perceived as having significant impact on their “competitive edge”, where IT spending is projected to increase at the same rate as business, and where Supplier Relations are most likely to be rated as satisfactory.

“IT Engaged Executives” have a significantly better perception of IT
In last year’s survey, IDC created a measure of “IT Engaged Executives” (or IT savvy executives) based on their understanding of 3rd platform technologies. This year, the proportion of IT Engaged Executives has grown significantly – and IT engaged executives view IT much more positively. They are more likely to consider IT a critical part of their business strategy, and at least half strongly agree that technology needs to be better incorporated into business planning. IT engaged executives continue to welcome shared planning on acquisition, development and integration of 3rd platform technologies, and they see increased budgets for IT in the future.

Guidance for CIOs
Based on the survey findings, IDC has come up with 5 key take-away actions for CIOs:

Educate: Help the business understand how to get value from 3rd platform technologies.
Prove Value: Step up efforts to achieve and demonstrate greater ROI from IT – and hold vendors accountable.
Simplify: Become part of the solution – do not be perceived as adding to the complexity of IT. Work hard to simplify where possible.
Protect: Prioritize security or risk losing new investments or influence in the organization.
Balance: Seek new sources of influence and technology budget among LOB executives – and forge relationships to that end.