October 6, 2011 – IT and business alignment topped the list of IT concerns in this year’s annual survey of CIOs and IT executives from the Society for Information Management.

Responding U.S. SIM members revealed that cutting IT budgets has dropped in importance, and business now works closely with IT partners. This finding is both significant and positive for IT, according to lead researcher Jerry Luftman, professor at Stevens Institute of Technology. Instead of cutting IT, businesses are looking to leverage IT to reduce the overall business expense.

“If you look back, this recession was different than others in history,” says Luftman, who has been doing the survey for ten years. “IT was always the first place where business came to cut costs.”

After IT/business alignment on the list of concerns were business agility and sped to market, and business process management and reengineering. Business productivity and cost reduction, which was the number one concern in the 2010 survey, fell to number four this year.

The survey of SIM members revealed that situations are improving for tech companies. Enterprises are very close to prerecession levels for IT budgets, salaries and hiring. Projected 2012 spending levels are set to increase overall, as 85 percent of the 275 organizations participating reported that IT budgets will stay the same or increase in 2012 and 94 percent of respondents said staff salaries will stay the same or increase in 2012.

The top investment area for IT is business intelligence, followed by cloud computing and enterprise resource planning. “While cloud seems to be a hot topic, most organizations are not heavily invested in cloud nor will they be near term,” points out Luftman.

Luftman notes that transformation is occurring rapidly. “IT is in a very dynamic environment - they’ve never experienced so much at one time. Cloud, virtualization, social networks, and consumerization are all going on at once. Perhaps more than ever before, more change going on.”

Another key finding from this year is that 49 percent of CIOs responding to the survey report to their CFO; 32 percent to the CEO. “CTOs are not as involved in decision-making as you’d think, whereas the CFO is very much engaged,” says Luftman.

You can read our coverage of last year’s results here

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