What 160 CIOs Plan to Do Next Year
2013 is going to be an interesting year. CIO priorities for the next twelve months show strong urgency about reshaping how IT creates value and how it is governed. And if that wasn’t enough for one year, re-skilling IT talent is on the agenda too.
We test CIO plans for next year in two ways. Last week I wrote about the 2013 IT budget benchmark, describing how CIOs are reallocating resources within a flat budget to fund their priorities. They are investing in collaboration, insight, and mobility; and funding a service-based, and increasingly externalized and collaborative delivery model.
The other test of CIO priorities is our annual issues survey. Here we asked 160 CIOs which topics are critical to their success in the coming year. The survey revealed three themes which we will explore in 2013. Together they go a long way toward shaping a new type of IT organization.
- IT in the New Work Environment – Exploiting collaboration to drive employee productivity ranked joint first in the survey. Capturing value from customer and consumer data also featured in the top five. These priorities echo the budget benchmark findings that the largest single project category in 2013 will be information management, and that CIOs plan, on average, to increase spending on mobile applications by 50%.All are signs that technology is being used to create value in new ways. Enabling knowledge workers to be productive by collaborating, generating insight, and working while mobile, is eclipsing more traditional transaction automation.
- Flexible, Business Outcomes-Focused Investment Decisions – Uncertainty is an unavoidable characteristic of investments in knowledge worker productivity. There’s uncertainty about what’s needed, what will work, and what the business outcomes are. The old approach of using a project queue to prioritize and deliver these investments is too slow, inflexible and IT-centric. So it’s no surprise that using business capabilities to drive IT planning, and prioritizing the portfolio of end to end IT services both ranked highly in the survey.Done well, a business capabilities model provides clear link from technology investments to business outcomes. The real challenge isn’t building a model. In fact, many organization already have one, but it’s hidden in the darker corners of the EA team, so it is little understood and even less used by the organization as a whole.Prioritizing services rather than projects provides speed and flexibility. Services can be rapidly and repeatedly enhanced, turning the prioritization process from a cumbersome, point-in-time effort, into an ongoing conversation about what business stakeholders need next.
- The Re-skilled IT Team – Another top 5 topic was up-skilling IT to better enable end user insight, collaboration, and mobility. The budget benchmark told a similar story. For example, 84% percent of organizations have or plan to create information architects, and 52% have or plan to have user experience designers. These datapoints point to a larger trend. CIOs realize they must swap out a lot of legacy skills, and build the ranks of IT employees who can influence, challenge, and advise.