As demand for ever-growing amounts of information continues to increase, companies are seeking simple and direct access to data and applications that cloud computing delivers in a cost-efficient, always-available manner. The use of cloud, which began in supporting deployments mainly inside companies, has now also grown common between organizations and their partners and customers. In IBM's 2009 CIO study, only a third of CIOs said they planned to pursue cloud to gain a competitive advantage. This year’s study shows a dramatic increase in the focus on cloud, particularly in media and entertainment, which rose to 73 percent, automotive (70 percent) and telecommunications (69 percent).
From a country standpoint, seven out of 10 CIOs in the US, Japan and South Korea, and 68 percent in China, now identify cloud as a top priority. This is dramatically up from 2009, when CIO interest in cloud hovered at about a third in each of these countries.
The IBM study also found that more than four out of five CIOs (83 percent) see business intelligence and analytics as top priorities for their businesses as they seek ways to act upon the growing amounts of data that are now at their disposal. CIOs are also increasingly turning their attention to mobile computing to keep pace with the fast-changing marketplace. As the proliferation of mobile devices with enhanced functionality and mobile applications that support business productivity and new market opportunities continues to grow, mobile computing and mobility solutions are now seen by nearly three-quarters of CIOs (74 percent) as a game-changer for their businesses -- up from 68 percent in 2009.
Among other trends identified from this year's study:
- Analytics and business intelligence hold the most interest in the chemical and petroleum, consumer products and healthcare industries, where 91, 89 and 86 percent of CIOs surveyed, respectively, cited it as part of their visionary plans to increase competitiveness over the next three to five years.
- Ninety-five percent of CIOs in South America (excluding Brazil) and Canada see analytics and business intelligence as their competitive differentiator.
- Mobility solutions were identified most in the travel (91 percent), media and entertainment (86 percent) and energy and utilities (82 percent) industries.
- Risk management is a top issue in the finance and banking industries, where more than 80 percent of CIOs said they are focusing their attention.
"As technology becomes both an enabler of competitive advantage and embedded in every facet of the enterprise, the role of the CIO has never been more essential," said Jeanette Horan, vice president and Chief Information Officer, IBM. "This study provides key evidence of how the capabilities of IT are aligning perfectly with the aspirations of business leaders. The winners will be those companies that understand the power of technologies like cloud, analytics and mobility, and can harness that power to transform their businesses."
Additional key findings of the study:
- Simplification is a driving issue for CIOs as more than 80 percent said they plan to lead projects to simplify internal processes.
- For the first time, the CIO's vision of the future is almost identical to that of the CEO. Together, their top three focus areas are strengthening relationships with customers, developing the skills of employees and gaining insight and intelligence from data.
- A wide array of innovative methods and tools are being sought to turn "big data" into real, actionable information. This ranges from master data management (68 percent) to client analytics (66 percent), data warehousing and visual dashboards (64 percent) and search capabilities (59 percent).
- The CIO is no longer looked upon as 'Chief IT Mechanic' but is now recognized for extracting value from technology and insight from complex systems.
- Cost-cutting is here to stay as CIOs strive to do more with less and drive creativity and innovation.
The report also highlights a number of recommendations, ranging from strategic business actions and use of key technologies that IBM has identified that CIOs can implement, based on CIO feedback from the study. The full 2011 CIO Study and interviews about the study are available at www.ibm.com/ciostudy.