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State of the CIO 2015

Byron Connolly and Nadia Cameron | Oct. 8, 2015
If there’s one thing all CIOs arguably now have in common, it’s that they can’t escape the impact of digital change.

When it comes to cross-functional partnership, it’s not all smooth sailing, however, and 51 percent of CIOs admitted to currently fighting a turf battle with at least one c-suite peer. Sixty percent also saw IT still being the scapegoat for other departments when they miss their own goals, and 53 percent are convinced IT is seen as an obstacle by other lines of business.

CIOs know it’s a problem, which is why engaging business stakeholders more effectively remains the top action most important to elevating’s IT general relationship with the rest of the business for the second year in a row. Creating quick wins for business partners and training IT staff to work better with business stakeholders was in the top five actions cited by CIOs in 2015, as it was in 2014.

Technologies of change

A number of the key technology initiatives driving IT investments this year showcase the speed, agility, mobility and customer engagement quest organisations are on.

Cloud services were cited by almost 50 percent respondents as being a key initiative driving technology investment this year, leading the list of technology priorities.

This was followed by mobile technologies (39 percent), big data and business intelligence (36 percent), application modernisation (36 percent), and customer experience technologies (32 percent).

Mitchell also saw cloud’s dominance on this list as indicative of businesses getting more comfortable with the concept of cloud computing.

“One of our new innovations will be utilising cloud [infrastructure]. We have no choice based on how we want this product to operate and to do this internally wouldn’t have made sense,” he says.

Griffith Hack has also moved all of its data backups to the cloud, a ‘cost-neutral’ environment that has freed up staff to get on with more innovative work, Mitchell says.

At APG & Co, IT investment is shifting from large capital outlays to more regular operational expenditure based on cloud services. The retailer’s cloud utilisation has risen this year with payroll, time and attendance and e-commerce systems now in the cloud. The company will then move to Office 365 in a project due for completion in February.

“We are taking the approach of identifying what we can’t use as a cloud service first rather than looking at which in-house option is the best option,” says Kennedy. “In our world [retail], speed is important.”

Current and future state

Alongside technology specific priorities, CIOs this year were asked about the activities that best characterise their focus and how they’re spending their time currently, versus expectations of the role in the medium-term.

Figures showed a huge emphasis on implementing new systems and architecture, which is not replicated in the next 3-5 years (54 percent versus 28 percent), a further pointer to the transformation agenda now in place. Also, while half of our respondents are focused on improving IT operations and systems performance, less than a third expect to be doing so in 3-5 years’ time.


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