Research: Global CIO 2012

Mar 05, 2012


New IT Rulebook

Ask CIOs what they're worried about, and the No. 1 answer is speed: 57% of the IT leaders who responded to our InformationWeek 2012 Global CIO Survey cite "can't implement fast enough" as a top concern. The next biggest worry--not having enough budget--is fairly close, cited by 48%, followed by having no system to prioritize projects (22%), having a poor understanding of customers (17%) and having poor relationships with business units (15%).

It's an important finding from this year's Global CIO survey of 203 IT leaders, all of them VP or C-level executives. It suggests IT organizations need to focus on execution, not tired concepts like "business-IT alignment." IT leaders feel like they know what they need to do based on their strong customer and business understanding; it's the pace of change that's the biggest risk.

In terms of technology priorities, the hottest project in IT is improving employee collaboration; 39% of IT leaders have a major implementation planned this year. There's a growing sense that collaboration can be much better than it is, in two major ways: One, make it more social by mimicking the energy and ease of use of Facebook, and two, pull together video, messaging, data and voice with much less hassle.

Close behind collaboration is getting applications on mobile devices, for which 38% plan a major implementation this year and another 25% plan to do in the next two years. Only 18% say they have a major implementation of mobile apps today.

When asked about innovation plans this year, IT leaders most often cite cutting costs (38%) and making business processes more efficient (37%). Those are the traditional goals for IT, ones IT needs to keep in focus, but they suggest an internal focus. Only 32% cite introducing an IT-led product or service, and 30% cite creating a new revenue stream or business model.

Our survey doesn’t show a major shift happening in IT spending, but there are some signs of tightening. Fifty-eight percent are increasing spending over last year, compared with 61% in 2011, but 18% are cutting, compared with just 13% a year ago. The rest are flat. We see similar caution around hiring: 31% say hiring is frozen, up from 26% last year. Only 4% says they’re likely to cut, though, same as last year. Fifty-three percent are looking to staff up, either broadly or in specialized skills, compared with 50% last year. One number that changed notably is that last year 19% of companies looked to hire contractors or outsourcers before full-time staff; this year that’s down to 11%.

The Global CIO data shows how IT leaders are dealing with an incredibly fast-changing technology and business climate. Technology around cloud, mobile, analytics and social networking is evolving quickly, and IT feels the pressure to keep up and meet business demands. We think IT needs to adopt a new mindset--a new rulebook--in order to tap into the opportunities those technologies present, and to deliver them at the speed businesses want to adopt them. (R4450312)

Survey Name   InformationWeek 2012 Global CIO Survey
Survey Date   February 2012
Region   North America
Number of Respondents    203
Purpose   To gain insight into the global IT strategies in use by CIOs and other upper-level IT executives.

Research Report