IT Must Become the Center of Business

The Gartner 2011 CIO Survey shows some pretty drastic differences this year in relation to the previous three years. In fact, in several ways it appears that the IT agenda has been flipped on its head.

The number one IT strategy ranked by CIOs this year is developing or managing a flexible infrastructure. This initiative ranked at #8 in 2010 and #11 in both 2009 and 2008. On the flip side, the strategy to improve/link the business-IT relationship has been either #1 or #2 from 2008 – 2010. Now, it’s in 10th place, at the bottom of the priority list.

However, these rankings may not give the right impression of what CIOs have in mind. According to Gartner:

“The first wave of the digital revolution measured an enterprise’s digitization by its Web presence; but by today’s standards, most enterprises have much work to do before they can become fully digitized (see figure below). Now they must become digital from the front office to the back office. This may not be easy, but it gives CIOs the opportunity to re-imagine IT as the center of the next digital revolution.”

Reading between the lines, this restructuring of IT from infrastructure to process to people that will be necessary to digitize companies will actually serve to link IT closer to business objectives as they seek to enable them. In fact, the next wave of the digital revolution will mean extracting more revenues from information as well as the ways in which technology is used within the organization.

One of the ways this will be accomplished is by embracing non-traditional IT models:

“New lighter-weight technologies – such as cloud computing, software as a service (SaaS), and social networks -and IT models enable the CIO to redefine IT, giving it a greater focus on growth and strategic impact. These are two things that are missing from many organizations.”

But this doesn’t mean success will come easily for CIOs. Two of the obstacles that must be addressed include delivering business benefits and improving IT skills to manage and evolve the new technology models to serve the business. Let’s face it, all IT projects these days involve some level of IT, but each and every project undertaken by a company is developed with a strategic objective as its goal. It’s all about the business.

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