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Are CIOs being given the strategic role they deserve?

CIO Australia staff | Nov. 29, 2012
The business role of the CIO -- focusing on transforming the organisation with technology that drives efficiency, opens up new markets, products and services -- can be much more exciting than the traditional break/fix role. The CIO and the IT department underpin, and in some cases drive, this move.

So can outsourcing provide the grunt power in the 'lights on' area to allow CIOs to be more strategic? A third of respondents to the survey estimated that in five years' time, 20 per cent of their activities will be outsourced. Eggenhuizen says whether IT support/activities are outsourced or in-house is dependent upon a number of factor and businesses often cycle through both modes as circumstances change. He adds that this applies to schools as much as commercial business.

"The cycling usually occurs as a result of a number of factors including: budgetary demands; failing infrastructure, processes and policies; lack of staff expertise; lack of vision and strategic planning; poor decision-making; lack of teamwork; complacency and so on."

Bailey feels that outsourcing is becoming more effective as products and services are further commoditised.

"The true value of IT lies in our ability to work effectively with our business colleagues on their pain points and help them find appropriate solutions," he says. "I see no value in running my own data centre or WAN, there is no competitive advantage in that."

CIO asked the most senior IT executives in many organisations, supporting an average of 4000 internal users, what their key priorities were over the next 12 months.

Perhaps one of the most encouraging findings from online surveys with these IT leaders is that only 23 per cent of respondents said the business viewed the IT organisation as a cost centre, down from 36 per cent in 2011.

Some of the key findings included:

More strategic thinking

61 per cent of their time is spent on strategic thinking and planning

46 per cent on improving IT operations and system performance

43 per cent on aligning IT initiatives with business goals

37 per cent on tapping expertise to run the IT function

35 per cent on change leadership.

Technology priorities

56 per cent said mobile technologies was their top technology priority

40 per cent said business intelligence and analytics

37 per cent said updating legacy systems

28 per cent said cloud: software-as-a-service

27 per cent said collaboration technologies.

IT management priorities

54 per cent said improving business processes was their top IT management priority

48 per cent said increasing IT capacity and resources to drive innovation

45 per cent said marketing the IT department so the business has a better understanding of IT's capabilities and processes

37 per cent said lowering IT's operational costs to free up money for new initiatives

30 per cent said increasing the scope of IT's centralised or shared services to improve efficiency.

Technology trends that matter to CIO

32 per cent said mobility mattered the most

30 per cent said cloud computing

15 per cent said big data

12 per cent said consumerisation

10 per cent said social media.


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