Analytics and business intelligence are the key technology trends IT chiefs across the world will be focusing on throughout 2013, looking to take advantage of the growing reams of data being created.
The focus was revealed in a Gartner study of 2,000 chief information officers (CIO) which also found that mobile technologies and cloud computing use are the other top three priorities for the year ahead.
These three key IT trends are indicative of wider business priorities facing CIOs, including increasing enterprise growth and reducing enterprises costs, areas where tools like cloud computing can help.
Other key areas for the year ahead include collaboration, CRM tools and virtualisation, in another push to make businesses as efficient as possible.
Gartner analyst Dave Aron told V3 that the top priorities were not a huge surprise as firms continue to take advantage of new capabilities on the market to drive their business forward, although this is proving tricky.
"We have seen similar priorities over the last few years but the real challenge for CIOs is finding the time to do this stuff," he said.
"However, a lot of firms are moving away from a "do more with less" ethos - which is now seen as a bit trite - and taking on more aggressive strategies based on stopping work in some areas and focusing on new things, rather than trying to do everything all the time."
Aron noted that one omission from the list is social computing, as he suggested the task was being left to other departments.
"Seeing the social opportunity as just another marketing channel is a bit of a concern. There's much more to it than that in terms of how social can affect business strategy. People seem to recognise it's a big disruptor but it's not something they're focusing on," he said.
Interestingly, security ranked ninth as the most important IT focus, despite the seemingly never-ending wave of vulnerabilities and security holes uncovered, as well as the growing threat from state-sponsored and criminal malware tools.
However, Aron suggested this is not because security isn't important, but because it is now considered a daily part of IT operations, so is not given as much immediate focus as new areas like cloud or mobile.
The report also highlighted the worry many CIOs have about the skills shortage building up for IT roles. Only a quarter said they are able to get the staff they need from the current labour market.
"This is a significant issues and it doesn't even take into the account the new roles that will need to be filled like data scientists that will make things even worse," added Aron.
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