CIOs must re-imagine IT to support growth and competitive advantage, based on results from the 2011 CIO Agenda survey by Gartner Executive Programs (EXP). CIOs reported that their organizations are emphasizing growth, in addition to continued vigilance on cost and operational efficiencies.The worldwide CIO survey was conducted by Gartner EXP from September to December 2010 and represents CIO budget plans reported at that time.
The survey includes responses from 2,014 CIOs representing over $160 billion in corporate and public-sector IT spending across 50 countries and 38 industries. The Gartner Executive Programs report "Reimagining IT: The 2011 CIO Agenda" also includes CIOs’ IT budget projections for 2011.
The report found budgets were globally flat, with a weighted average budget increase of one percent. While CIOs do not report IT budgets returning to their 2008 (pre-recession) levels, the number of those experiencing budget increases in 2011 outnumbered those reporting a cut by almost three-to-one, according to information released by the company.
"CIOs and IT have been boxed in between modest budget growth and growing legacy requirements," said Mark McDonald, group vice president and head of research for Gartner Executive Programs. "New lighter-weight technologies – such as cloud computing, software as a service ( SaaS ), and social networks -and IT models enable the CIO to redefine IT, giving it a greater focus on growth and strategic impact. These are two things that are missing from many organizations."
CIOs expect to adopt new cloud services much faster than originally expected, the report noted. Currently, three percent of CIOs have the majority of IT running in the cloud or on SaaS technologies, but over the next four years CIOs expect this number to increase to 43 percent.
In a further positive development revealed in the survey, CIOs may be able to reallocate IT budget savings, rather than simply returning them to the organization in 2011. CIOs anticipate the ability to fund infrastructure changes and new projects by reallocating resources within that budget. This approach to funding will become a standard operating procedure since Gartner said it does not see CIO IT budgets recovering to their 2008 peak until 2014.
"Over the next five years, CIOs expect dramatic changes in IT as they adopt new technologies and raise their contribution to competitive advantage," McDonald said. "Leaders will implement new infrastructure technologies to achieve increased efficiency and to redirect IT resources to create greater business impact. Pursuit of that leadership agenda will raise complex issues ranging from re-imaging IT’s role in their organization to the creative destruction necessary to break old practices and redeploy resources to new initiatives."