With chief information officers struggling to get by on modest or no increases to technology budgets, more are considering lighter-weight technologies, such as cloud computing, to make an impact, a survey from Gartner has found.

In its 2011 CIO Agenda survey, Gartner found that CIOs are once again looking at flat budgets for 2011, with a weighted average budget increase of one percent. As a result, CIOs are attempting to look for ways to free resources to take on strategic priorities.

“CIOs and IT have been boxed in between modest budget growth and growing legacy requirements,” Mark McDonald, head of research for Gartner Executive Programs, said in releasing the survey. “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.”

Gartner surveyed some 2,000 CIOs from September to December 2010, representing companies and organizations with $160 billion in IT spending. It found that CIOs expect to adopt new cloud services much faster than originally expected. Currently, just 3% of CIOs have the majority of IT running in the cloud or on SaaS technologies. But over the next four years CIOs expect that number to increase to 43%.

CIOs anticipate being able to fund infrastructure changes and new projects by reallocating resources within their budgets. Gartner noted that it does not see IT budgets returning to their 2008 peak until 2014.

The following are the Top 10 Technology Priorities for CIOs as reported in the survey:

  1. Cloud computing
  2. Virtualization
  3. Mobile technologies
  4. IT management
  5. Business intelligence
  6. Networking, voice and data communications
  7. Enterprise applications
  8. Collaboration technologies
  9. Infrastructure
  10. Web 2.0


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