Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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1/19/2010
02:16 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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Gartner: Virtualization And Cloud Will Transform IT

Gartner's 2010 CIO survey shows virtualization and cloud computing as the top tech priorities. Thus, IT will morph, at long last, into strategic change agent, rather than supporter of resources, it reasons. Problem: Most CIOs aren't close to using the cloud to drive that transformation, our recent research suggests.

Gartner's 2010 CIO survey shows virtualization and cloud computing as the top tech priorities. Thus, IT will morph, at long last, into strategic change agent, rather than supporter of resources, it reasons. Problem: Most CIOs aren't close to using the cloud to drive that transformation, our recent research suggests.First, a few key findings in the Gartner report, based on 1,586 CIOs:

* IT budgets will inch up 1.3%, after cratering 8.1% last year. Increases this year won't make up for last year's cuts.

* The No. 1 technology priority is virtualization, No. 2 is cloud computing. Business intelligence, the No. 1 tech priority for the past five years, falls to No. 5.

* Business process improvement, reducing enterprise costs, and increasing use of information/analytics rank nos. 1, 2, and 3 in business priorities.

* The No. 5 business priority is attracting and retaining new customers, with creating new products or services (innovation) No. 7.

Gartner is right about virtualization and cloud providing distinct, new options for IT architecture. Gartner predicts it will open the door to IT leadership focusing on managing results, instead of on managing resources and infrastructure. Says Mark McDonald, head of research for Gartner EXP:

"CIOs see 2010 as an opportunity to accelerate IT's transition from a support function to strategic contributor focused on innovation and competitive advantage. They have aspired to this shift for years, but economic, strategic and technological changes have only recently made it feasible."

However, IT isn't grabbing this opportunity, at least when it comes to software as a service. Our current research examines how IT's using software as a service--by far the most-used variation of cloud computing. It found that only about one-third of IT teams using SaaS take a strategic view of the technology, seeing it as something that could transform their organizations. Instead, 59% of companies using SaaS treat it as a tactical, point solution.

One other finding that struck me in the Gartner survey is the relatively low priority put on customers and new products. Most IT shops remain more internally focused--on process improvements and cost cutting, foremost, in the Gartner survey.

Have an opinion on whether cloud computing will drive fundamental change in IT organizations? Will it perhaps even let IT spend more time focused on customer-centric innovation? Share it here with your peers.

Related Global CIO posts: When It Comes To SaaS, IT Isn't Driving Global CIO: 5 Points To Make When Your CEO Cries Cloud Will Panasonic Deal Give Lotus Cloud Cred? Global CIO: Will Google Miss Its Moment In Enterprise IT?

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