CIO magazine recently released its 2015 State of the CIO Survey– a crystal ball into the opportunities and challenges that top CIOs from North America, Asia-Pacific and EMEA will face in the coming year. As we covered in this blog throughout 2014, the changing role of CIOs, an increased focus on security, the lack of IT talent, and investments in big data, mobile and cloud computing remain key focus areas for CIOs in 2015.
IT leaders are taking a seat at the C-suite table
In our blog post entitled “Cloud Computing Investments and the “New IT,” we discussed how IT leaders are juggling dual roles – managing and maintaining legacy systems while serving as trusted advisors within and outside their organizations. This is partly due to greater involvement of C-level executives in their organizations’ technology investments. The plethora of information available on technologies such as cloud computing have enabled business leaders to become “educated novices.” However, they still want IT to serve as trusted business advisors to employees, customers and partners. It’s no surprise that the survey found 44 percent of IT leaders reporting to the CEO, up from 39 percent reported in 2013. Sixty-four percent of respondents said that their CEO consults with them on a frequent basis about their organization’s business strategy.
At the same time, IT leaders are still tasked with keeping the company email up and protecting their servers from hackers. Many of them are finding themselves stretched to keeping the IT engine humming while continuing to educate themselves on new technologies.
Security continues to increase in importance
The wave of cyberattacks that characterized 2014 has led to an increased focus on cyber security. In last year’s survey, security was number eight on the CEO’s top priorities list. This year, it jumps to the number four spot.
The percentage of CIOs managing security initiatives in 2015 increased to 31 percent, up from 24 percent in 2014 and 20 percent in 2013. Security is a greater focus for CIOs in North America; 35 percent indicate security management best characterizes their time and focus, compared with 24 percent of CIOs outside of North America. Not surprisingly, 26 percent of North American CIOs said that security and risk management technologies will drive most of their IT investments for 2015, significantly higher than the 14 percent reported in Asia-Pacific and EMEA.
CIOs will scramble for top IT talent
As we discussed in our webinar, Technology Priorities in an On-Demand World, business leaders are being tasked to build agile organizations that can respond quickly to market conditions within a global arena. The catch – they will have to do with leaner teams and smaller budgets.
Not surprisingly, more than half of CIOs (56 percent) are forecasting a significant skills shortage this year. Big data/business intelligence and analytics tops the list of skills that will be most difficult to find (39 percent), followed by security/risk management (30 percent). Application development/programming and mobile technologies were tied at 27 percent.
Big Data, mobile and cloud will drive technology investments
Thirty-seven percent of CIOs cited big data/business intelligence and analytics as where they plan to spend their IT dollars in 2015. Mobile technologies and cloud services are right behind at 35 percent and 31 percent respectively.
CIOs cite optimizing their organizations’ business processes as the top initiative driving technology investments (44 percent), followed by increasing their organization’s productivity (42 percent).
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