Chief information officers (CIOs) expect IT budgets to increase by 2.5 per cent in 2005 to support business growth, according to newly published research.
The survey by Gartner Executive Programs found that CIOs have had to focus on internal efficiency and cost control during the past few years, while preparing their organisations for an economic upswing.
CIOs also voiced concerns about their relationship with the chief executive and whether they have the right people to meet current and future business needs.
"Business expectations are now forcing CIOs to transform the IS organisation and 2005 is the year in which CIOs must deliver more value and become a contributor rather than a commodity," said Marcus Blosch, group vice president and research director at Gartner Executive Programs.
"They must do this without large up-front investments and CIOs are turning to business processes and business intelligence to meet this challenge."
According to the survey, the top technology priority facing CIOs in 2005 is enhancing security. Rolling out business intelligence applications was rated the second most pressing IT issue for this year, while mobile workforce enablement came in third.
CIOs expect that the most significant shift in 2005 through 2008 that will enable them to support business growth is a focus on better business processes and strategic use of business intelligence.
This shift is driven by increasing pressure for greater profitability, faster innovation and growth. The focus on business intelligence reflects the need to identify and find new sources of business growth.
"Business process improvement has been a focus for IS organisation for 20 years, but it is no longer about making individual processes within a business unit or geography faster," said Blosch.
"The latest wave of business process change - business process fusion - provides the opportunity to re-engineer processes end-to-end from the customer perspective and integrate previously autonomous business processes, information and application software across business units and geographies."
Two thirds of CIOs see themselves as "at risk" based on the chief executive's view of IT and its performance. To address this, Gartner advises CIOs to raise and stabilise the quality of IT services, and provide measures that clearly demonstrate the contribution of those services.
Only 39 per cent of CIOs believe they have the right people to meet current and future business needs. Attracting the right skills and people to upgrade the IT leadership team is expected to become a key challenge in 2005.
Over half of CIOs reported concerns around an ageing workforce as a result of difficulty in attracting new people with the right skills to meet the new requirements.
Gartner Executive Programs surveyed more than 1,300 CIOs representing $57bn in IT spending, covering more than 30 countries.
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