CIO Barometer 2012: A Storm Is Coming
BYOD, Cloud and Other Trends Raise Pressure on CIOs
A storm is heading toward CIOs – one that threatens to reshape the IT landscape. Mobile phones and tablets flooding the enterprise are helping make users more productive, and cloud computing is giving businesses new tools to do more with less. But the new tools are also creating a rising generation of tech-savvy employees who expect CIOs to play new roles – or be replaced.
Like green and red Doppler on a weather map, the new attitudes loom over CSC’s CIO Barometer 2012 report, based on a survey of more than 330 IT directors and managers at major North American and European companies and public agencies. The survey was conducted in conjunction with TNS Sofres, a Paris-based market research institute.
Repositioning IT as an enabler
Although more than 80% of business leaders surveyed believe technology is fundamental to their business model, many do not rely on the IT department to satisfy this need. Some view IT as overwhelmed by its simultaneous demands for cost reduction, simplification and better/cheaper/faster services.
Most damaging is the survey’s finding that many top business managers see IT as a cost center, not as a true business partner. Nearly 45% of respondents say general management views IT as a cost center, while only 35% say management views IT as a collaborative partner. In a separate question, 25% acknowledged that their company doesn’t even view IT as a driver of innovation.
This means CIOs must not only reposition IT as a strategic consultant to top management, but must also repel any attempts by mobile users to cut IT out of the process. It’s a delicate balancing act, creating value while preserving IT control and coherence across the enterprise.
Operating in an age of austerity
Even if CIOs are able to pull off the balancing act and demonstrate their value, they have to do so in an environment of tight budgets. More than half of survey respondents expect their budgets to remain flat this year, and 5% expect a drop. When asked to list the main problems limiting the innovation leadership of the IT department, 53% named “budget constraints” – by far their top choice.
One of the biggest trends behind the change in the CIO’s role is BYOD, short for “bring your own device.” In the CIO Barometer 2012 survey, extending mobile applications was cited as a top priority by 62% of European respondents, while in the U.S., mobile applications in general were cited as a top priority by a similarly impressive 58% of respondents.
Hand in hand with BYOD is cloud computing. More than 70% of executives surveyed say they have cloud initiatives underway, up sharply from just 26% a year earlier. In the U.S. alone, use of cloud technology is even more widespread, at 80% of those surveyed. And nearly 65% of executives say the cloud is their top priority for the coming years.
With BYOD and cloud computing putting more power into employees’ hands, CIOs need to weather this storm by making sure they change their roles with the times and by showing they can bring a higher level of innovation to the table.