IT at the Top of the CIO Priority List

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A recent survey has revealed that CIOs are twice as likely to focus on delivering IT services to their organisation as on innovation and moving the business forward. According to Managed Services Provider Claranet, outsourcing the responsibility of managing infrastructure to a third party can free up the time of CIOs and shift their mindset away from one of keeping the lights on towards one of delivering value to the business and growing the top line.

A global survey of more than 900 CIOs conducted by Deloitte has found that CIOs are twice as likely to prioritise the delivery of IT services over increasing profit and growth, and driving innovation: 55 per cent of CIOs identified delivering business outcomes through IT services as the most important element of their role, followed by enhancing customer experiences through technology, cited by 35 per cent of respondents. However, transforming IT from a cost centre to a profit centre and investing in emerging technologies were of lesser importance, selected by 22 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

For Claranet’s CIO, Andy Wilton, the results, while not altogether surprising, speak more about the pressures that CIOs are under than their willingness or desire to innovate:

Wilton said: “Given the considerable and growing amount of pressure CIOs are under to maintain service availability, these priorities come as little surprise. CIOs clearly recognise the need to innovate to support changing needs of the business, but faced with ever-heightening expectations of availability and a growing number of options as to where and how they host their data and applications, their ability to do so is hindered by inertia and by over-stated concerns over security and data sovereignty.

“The things that should keep the CIO awake at night are innovation and those things that can grow the top line – rather than simply keeping the lights on and keeping costs under control. In this sense, CIOs need to think more like CEOs and invest as much time and effort into growth and innovation as they do for service delivery. After all, while there’s a finite amount that you can control costs, there’s an infinite amount to which you can grow the top line,” Wilton continued.

“This shift in mindset is arguably easier said than done, but a key part of the transformation is having the right partners and suppliers in place to provide support and help them stop worrying about those things that they shouldn’t have to worry about. The technology supply chain has arrived at a point where CIOs can comfortably outsource the management of their IT infrastructure, freeing up their time to focus on building their core business,” he concluded.