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CIOs face even more pressure in 2006

IT set as key challenge

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Improved performance through more competitive use of IT is what 2006 holds for chief information officers, new survey findings suggest.

Carried out by Gartner Executive Programmes, a unit of Gartner Inc, the report titled Growing IT's Contribution: The 2006 CIO Agenda, says CIOs will come under increased pressure in 2006 to perform, while making their IT organisation more externally focused.

The survey found that worldwide IT budgets are expected to increase by an average of 2.7 per cent in 2006. This modest increment, slightly up on 2005's 2.5 per cent rise, is the third consecutive annual budget increase.

But while budget increases are modest, business expectations of what IT can and should deliver have risen dramatically, the report shows. While security and cost were primary concerns during 2005, executives are now expecting their CIOs to concentrate more on helping to grow the business. "Last year saw the beginning of a transformation that is intensifying in 2006," said Marcus Blosch, vice president and research director at Gartner EXP.

Data protection remains an important issue, but the survey shows concerns about security breaches and disruptions dropped from the second to the seventh ranked priority, Blosch said.

Overall, the survey found that IT spending on security-related tools remained healthy at a projected average increase of 4.5 percent in 2006. It also revealed that the three most important issues in executive minds are improved customer relations, sharper competitiveness, and better overall efficiency.

Two thirds of CIOs feel their competitors make better use of information, creating opportunity for the business. For this reason, CIOs and the business are making their communication and collaboration more dynamic, based on ongoing business needs rather than according to annual planning cycles.

Building IT business skills is another area seen as needing major improvement, with seven out of 10 survey respondents recognising the gap in IT skills. Two out of three CIOs realise the need to use IT to more effectively to handle information, make themselves distinct, and attract and retain customers.

The survey was carried out among CIOs representing more than $90bn in IT spending in more than 30 countries.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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