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Security tops CIO worries; IT budgets, turnover on the rise

Ann Bednarz | Sept. 12, 2014
CIOs are spending more on IT, worrying most about security and privacy, and staying on the job a little longer, according to the latest data from the Society for Information Management (SIM).

CIOs are spending more on IT, worrying most about security and privacy, and staying on the job a little longer, according to the latest data from the Society for Information Management (SIM). 

The 2015 SIM IT Trends Study isn't available in its entirety, but researchers released preliminary findings in advance of the full release in early November.

A key theme of the research is the need for speed — how IT groups are under pressure to keep pace with the business and deliver new technologies faster. "The business is changing, technology is changing, the pace of change is increasing, and IT is changing in order to keep up with it," says Leon Kappelman, lead researcher for SIM's annual poll of IT professionals.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the SIM IT Trends Study, which surveyed 1,002 people (including 451 CIOs) from 717 organizations. Among surveyed companies, the average annual revenue is $5.6 billion and average annual IT budget is $288 million.

For the last several years, the focus in IT has been on optimizing technology, reducing spending, and helping the business cut costs, Kappelman says. "Now it's more about strategy, innovation, value."

SIM also notes a trend away from centralized IT and toward more a more decentralized or hybrid approach.

"IT is becoming more federated. It's more about the business, it's more customer focused," Kappelman says. "As IT becomes more federated, it becomes less focused on optimizing IT and more focused on optimizing the whole of the enterprise."

This isn't a trivial change, Kappelman says. "You don't change the structure of an organization on a whim. There's serious culture change involved in this. This is a slow moving but pretty clear trend that we've seen over the years."

The trend for CIOs to focus more on the business and less on pure tech is evident in how their success is measured. According to respondents, the top 10 performance measures for CIOs, ranked from 1-10, are: the value of IT to the business; IT's contribution to strategy; customer satisfaction; innovative new ideas; availability; projects delivered on time; IT cost controls; productivity improvement; business cost reduction controls; and revenue growth.

SIM also asked how CIOs spend their time, and their answers reinforce a business-focused agenda.

According to the study, CIOs spend 41.5% of their time on business activities, including evangelizing IT, addressing the needs of IT and business customers, and managing change; 36.1% of their time on IT activities, including project management, resource allocation, IT governance, and technical research; 18.3% of their time on IT and business strategies; and 4.1% of their time on career activities, in particular managing personal networks.

 

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