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Breaches, IT skills & innovation keeping CIOs up at night

Bob Brown | Oct. 18, 2016
But IT budget and salary increases, along with excitement of job, making it a great time to be CIO, annual SIM IT Trends Study finds

SIM Chairman & May Institute CIO Kevin More: Investing in innovation key for IT support and enabling business services

In fact, when asked about what technologies organizations should be investing in, innovative/disruptive ones came in at #4, whereas they’re way down at #17 on the list of largest actual IT investments (analytics/business intelligence/big data is #1 on both lists).

Kevin More, chairman of SIM and CIO at healthcare/human services non-profit May Institute, puts an emphasis on innovation both in terms of delivering tools that direct care staff needs in working with clients with autism and other special needs and in terms of providing general IT support to employees. For example, May Institute partnered with a software company to pilot mobile apps used by direct care staff, such as therapists, for data collection for applied behavioral analysis. On the IT support side, May Institute has created videos to help employees get up to speed on new technologies, all the while balancing training needs with compliance rules. "We think: 'What's the kind of Amazon experience that we can give our users to make their jobs easier?'," he says. 

Cloud computing migration

The other huge data point on the IT investments front that was surfaced by the study is that spending is shifting big time from hardware/software to cloud computing, including ERP and other financial apps.

Overall, the percentage of respondents reporting an increase in IT budgets rose from 66% last year to 71% in 2016 – the largest percentage of organizations reporting increases in the last 11 years. More and more of that funding is headed to the cloud, with cloud spending going from 7.7% in 2015 to 12.1% in 2016. Respondents say they expect that number to rise to 15.1% in 2017, which would be about a 25% increase year over year.

Fueling cloud expenditures has been a shift from business unit-specific cloud spending at the start to more enterprise-level SaaS purchases of late. In 2016, nearly a third of all IT services were delivered via the cloud, according to survey respondents.

May Institute leverages cloud computing as much as it can, for applications such as electronic health records and payroll, and the shift has had a big impact on how IT staff does its job. "A lot more things are not in your control as much as they were in the past," says More, adding that a disaster recovery plan still needs to be in place. 

"There's a handful of things we still build ourselves, but a lot of our development team's time -- I'd say 40% to 50% -- is on integrations as opposed to doing code and building systems," More says.


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