Survey: CIOs strive to improve business processes

Findings also reveal that IT budgets expected to increase in 2006

A recent survey of global chief information officers (CIOs) found that using IT to make improvements to a company's business processes is the top priority for them in 2006, according to Gartner Inc.

In a survey of 1,400 CIOs by Gartner Executive Programs, the top business priority for CIOs was business process improvement, while the top technology priority was business intelligence applications. Gartner surveyed CIOs in more than 30 countries that represented more than US$90 billion in IT spending.

The survey also found that worldwide IT budgets are expected to increase by an average of 2.7 percent in 2006, compared to an increase of 2.5 percent in 2005. It's the third year IT budgets rose slightly, according to Gartner.

Other top business priorities CIOs are eyeing this year include controlling enterprise operating costs; attracting and growing customer relationships; improving competitive advantage; and improving the overall competitiveness of the organization, according to the survey.

Rounding out the top 10 list of CIO business aims this year were using intelligence in products and services; preventing security breaches and disruptions; generating revenue growth; promoting faster innovation; and attaining faster cycle times

Security technologies are the second-most important priority for CIOs this year, followed by mobile workforce enablement and collaboration technologies, according to Gartner. Other technologies on the CIO short list this year are customer sales and service; SOAs (service-oriented architectures); workflow management; networking, voice and data communications; virtualization; and legacy application modernization.

CIOs also said they face three key challenges in 2006, according to the survey. Those challenges are ensuring companies make better use of information than competitors do; building IT business skills in the organization and using IT to allow a business to get closer to its customers.

Gartner's key recommendations for CIOs in 2006 are to make more time for customers and to raise awareness of the business relevance of IT services and technologies across the organization. CIOs this year also should look to identify opportunities to use information more effectively across the company, and remember to remain vigilant on enterprise security and risk management, because these tasks are now assumed to be part of the CIO's and IT department's responsibility.

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