CIOs have a laundry list of pressing issues and decisions to make on a daily basis, from technology deployments and innovations to line-of-business requests—all while answering the demands of their staff and partner networks. But just what are their highest priorities?
To answer that question, we surveyed our Midsize Enterprise Summit attendees to find out where these CIOs are planning to concentrate their efforts in the coming 12 months of 2012. What we found is presented here for the first time.
The research is based on more than 200 CIOs who responded to an extensive survey at our September Midsize Enterprise Summit in Huntington Beach, Calif. The top five tech priorities included business intelligence, disaster recovery/business continuity, virtual desktop infrastructure, mobile computing and cloud.
It was no surprise that business intelligence (BI) was ranked the No. 1 IT initiative for the second consecutive year in a row. Many integrators and IT services firms have noticed the high demand of BI among the midmarket CIO audience and are focusing heavily on providing new BI solutions in the coming year. IBM is making a big bet on BI in 2012, especially with its Cognos software unit, which helps customers predict business outcomes and understand financial performance.
Disaster recovery is moving up the priority list fast and many attribute its rise to the natural disasters that were prevalent in 2011. “Our 2012 priority is going to be enabling disaster recovery, resilience or recoverability for our network. We are still deciding whether we are going to use it in the cloud or, perhaps, across our wide area network to another site, but that’s definitely our biggest project,” said John Buraczyk, Director of Information Technology at CF Jordan Construction.
VDI, which moved down one notch in the IT priority list since last year’s survey, still remains a leading initiative for middle market CIOs. “It seems like everybody wants to do VDI these days,” said Paul Harder, Director of Technology at Arc Greater Twin Cities.
In the age of the iPad, tablets and smartphones, CIOs must get in the mobility game and focus on implementing a mobile computing platform for their organizations. Mobile computing grasped fourth place in the top IT initiative rankings, and although most may feel that it should have been higher, it stands solid in the top five. “We plan to focus on mobile enablement for both the business and our end consumers,” said Bill Fellner, Enterprise Architect at Horace Mann. Agreeing with Fellner was Bob Keubler, CIO of The Flesh Co., who said, “In this upcoming year, our IT priority is mobility—how to implement it, where to implement it and why to implement it.”
Last, but not least, cloud computing completes the top five. “Our top 2012 IT initiative is to find the biggest, brightest, puffiest cloud in the sky—no rain, a little thunder is okay, but cloud is where it’s at,” quipped Joel Wolfe, Director of IT at J-W Admin Co. Cloud moved from the ninth spot to the fifth spot over the course of the year, which proves its continued influence among midmarket CIOs. Whether public or private cloud is the service of choice, CIOs still plan to embrace the cloud phenomenon in the coming year.
Rounding out the top 10 were storage, security, SharePoint, infrastructure upgrades and CRM.
TOP 10 Midmarket IT Initiatives (true order based on the survey results):
2. Disaster recovery/Business continuity
9. Infrastructure Upgrades