CIOs look to analytics projects to drive growth

Business intelligence and analytics solutions become top priority projects for CIOs looking to drive company growth

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CIOs look to analytics projects to drive growth The IBM study shows that CIOs are turning to information-drive decision making for the good of their organisations.
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By  Mark Sutton Published  September 11, 2009

A new study by IBM has highlighted the changing role of CIOs, and their desire to use business analytics to drive decision making and competitiveness.

The study, conducted by the IBM Institute of Business Value, found that 83% of CIOs surveyed were looking to business intelligence and analytics solutions to gain greater knowledge from their business data and to be able to use this to give their organization a competitive advantage.

Pat Toole, CIO of IBM commented: "CIOs are investing in business analytics capabilities to help them improve decision-making at all level. In addition, in this challenging economy, CIOs understand that analytics can be key to new growth markets, whether it's new ways to manage a utility grid or smarter healthcare systems. Managing and leveraging new intelligence through analytics is something that today's CIO is pursuing to gain competitive advantage in these new markets."

With the desire for information-driven innovations, ensuring the reliability and security of data ahs also become a major issue for CIOs, with 71% looking to make additional investments in risk management and compliance solutions, while virtualization also continues to occupy a considerable proportion of the time that CIOs spend on innovation projects, with 76% having carried out or planning virtualization projects.

In terms of the CIO's role, the study identifies a growing trend for CIOs to be more focused on developing strategic projects and innovation to drive business change, which take up 55% of a CIO's time, rather than focusing on provision and maintenance of basic infrastructure which account for 45% of time.

At the same time, CIOs are still heavily involved in routine areas such as cost-cutting and ensuring compliance. Standardizing infrastructure to simplify processes is also a major activity, with 76% of CIOs anticipating building a strongly centralized infrastructure in the next five years and more than half expecting to implement completely standardized, low-cost business processes.

"Clearly the role of the CIO is changing dramatically. On the one hand they are trying to standardize routine processes and simplify their existing IT infrastructure to reduce costs, hence their growing interest in technologies such as Cloud computing," said Toole.

"On the other hand, given the central role that today's CIO is playing in driving new business models, whether it's a Smart Grid system, an Intelligent Transport system, or a transparent food supply chain, it's not surprising that the amount of time they are now spending on driving new kinds of growth for their companies is growing considerably," he added.

The study, which IBM says is the largest ever face-to-face survey of CIOs, questioned 2,500 CIOs in 19 industries across 78 countries.

Other priority projects identified by the study included process improvement business intelligence and analytics, virtualization and green IT, service oriented architectures (SOA), service management, and cloud computing. CIOs are also focusing on mobility solutions and unified communications, collaboration and social networking tools, and Web 2.0 projects, to enable more effective communications for employees, customers, and partners.

"This study is a very important piece of work. The duality of the role of the CIO - to be both a visionary and a pragmatist, value creator and a cost cutter - is an issue I and most of the CIOs I talk to deal with every day," said Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, CIO and director of the Office for Technology, The Office of the New York State CIO/Office for Technology. "The fact that over 2,500 of my fellow CIOs shared their hopes, challenges and insights is helpful to me as I assess where I need to be professionally as a CIO and where my executive team needs to aspire to as part of my succession planning. I view this new Study as a great opportunity and challenge for my team to transform how we do business in the state of New York."

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