CIO priorities change as alignment grows
Business alignment increases significantly for Irish CIOs, as change and growth move top of the agenda
Tech4Biz | 11 Oct 2012 :
In a dramatic shift in priorities from previous years, enabling accelerated business change and growth is now the top priority among Irish CIOs, according to the annual CIO survey by Deloitte.
In its fourth year, the survey found that there has been a vast improvement in CIO perception of IT/business alignment. Seven out of ten CIOs now rate alignment as either good or excellent, which is a significant improvement on last year when only one in five CIOs rated alignment as good or excellent.
It is somewhat worrying with regard to Big Data that 41% of Irish CIOs have "no plans to engage with it or do not believe it to be relevant to their organisation".
Big Data technologies and the analytics to tackle it are becoming more and more affordable and easy to deploy and manage, thanks to the likes of Oracle, EMC and IBM. With fully converged infrastructure available that allows entire solutions to be simply rolled onto a data centre floor and plugged in, accessibility and availability of the technology is no longer a barrier.
As Chris Roche, regional director, UK and Ireland, Greenplum Big Data division, EMC, said at the recent EMC forum in Dublin, in all the acquisitions that EMC has made over the years, it has retained only three brands: RSA, the security arm, VMware, the virtualisation pioneer, and Greenplum, now the Big Data division. Such is the importance that EMC places on the Big Data and analytics phenomenon that it has acquired a company and retained its unique identity to differentiate it within the EMC fold.
With this firm stance on Big Data, Roche gave examples of how Big Data analytics had the potential to transform business models. He highlighted healthcare as an example. Roche said that historical analysis of patient records could show those patients who were more prone to infections, such as the MRSA superbug. When such patients are to undergo surgical procedures in the future, they could be flagged for pre-treatment with antibiotics to counteract the risk of post-procedure infection. With extensive experience dealing with CancerCare UK and the NHS, EMC has seen how the power of analytics can be an effective resource multiplier that can neutralise problems before they occur.
In light of the power of analytics and Big Data, there would appear to be either a lack of knowledge or a lack of vision among Irish CIOs about what these technologies can do for their organisations. As change accelerates for most business models with the advent of cloud computing, consumerisation and social media, this is a worrying trend.
CIOs are increasingly optimistic with regards to IT budgets, according to the survey. While just over a quarter of respondents expect a budget decrease in 2013, 42% predicted an increase. In last year's survey, 45% of respondents predicted a decrease in their 2012 budget.
IT cost reduction, which was a key priority for CIOs in previous years, says the survey report, now falls behind business change, but also security and compliance. Other areas which have fallen down the list of priorities include legacy systems replacement, IT portfolio management and desktop virtualisation. CIOs indicated that enterprise mobile and cloud computing are growing in importance in terms of their priorities.
"This is the greatest sea change in priorities that we have seen since the survey began," said Harry Goddard, partner, Consulting, Deloitte. "The shift in priorities and improvement in business alignment reflects a growing recognition of the important role that IT can play in business change and growth. Perhaps most encouraging is the fact that CIOs have indicated that expected increases in budgets will be used to support the change and growth agendas. The increase in IT budgets coupled with better IT/business alignment and the emergence of new technologies are leading to the digital transformation of organisations. CIOs must continue to push innovative and emerging solutions including enterprise mobile and data analytics to ensure IT departments have a place in leading this transformation."
Recruiting IT staff appears to be as much of a struggle as it ever was as 44% of CIOs indicated that they are currently recruiting for IT staff but 84% indicated that they are struggling to fill both graduate and experienced hire positions.
The survey asked about emerging trends such as enterprise mobility, cloud computing and social media.
Almost two thirds of respondents (60%) indicated that their organisation has developed mobile applications in the last year, an increase of 20% on 2011. This growth has been entirely focussed on customer facing applications, with no growth in the development of internal applications. CIOs indicated that the top benefit of mobile applications was meeting customer expectations. This contrasts, says the report, with last year when increased productivity and enabling new business growth through employee mobility were cited as the main benefits.
The 2011 survey found that adoption of cloud computing was relatively low. This year, 54% of respondents indicated that they now use cloud computing within their organisation, up from 38% in 2011. According to 77% of respondents the decision to adopt cloud based services was IT driven. Software as a Service (SaaS) is the most popular cloud service, with an adoption rate of 72%, followed by Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) (IaaS) at 41%. Some 60% of private sector respondents use some form of cloud computing, while a quarter of those respondents in the public sector indicated that they are using cloud services. Of the respondents who are not currently using cloud computing within their organisations, 47% have plans to research it and 31% plan on trialling cloud over the next 18 months.
In 2010, just 38% of CIOs indicated that they made use of social media. In 2012, this figure has risen to 73%. The primary use of social media is for customer interaction in the sales, marketing and support channels. Use of social media for internal collaboration ranks lowest, suggesting, says the report, that social media is still not viewed as a core enterprise tool for knowledge sharing. Despite the growing prevalence of social media channels, just 68% of organisations indicated that they have a formal social media strategy in place.
Other key findings were that 78% of organisations plan to introduce or increase their use of tablets, while only 12% of organisations have a Bring your own Device (BYOD) policy. However, 23% plan on introducing one within the next 18 months.
Big Data has established a small foothold, with 7% of respondents actively using or implementing such technologies. A further 39% plan to research it in the next year, while 41% either have no plans to engage with it or do not believe it to be relevant to their organisation.
"Encouragingly CIOs appear to be at the heart of the digital transformation of their organisations," said Goddard, "with the development of mobile applications and the use of social media on the increase. This again emphasises the pivotal role CIOs play in driving organisational strategy. More and more Irish CIOs are demonstrating the value technology innovation can bring. The overall sentiment that emerges from this year's survey is a quiet optimism among CIOs with regards to the increased contribution they can make to their organisation's future success."