A new study from Armonk N.Y.-based IBM finds CIOs balancing budgetary and macroeconomic concerns against a bevy of technical opportunities and imperatives. The report, "The New Voice of CIO: Insights from the Global Chief Information Officer Study," queried more than 2,500 CIOs, which included respondents from 78 countries and 19 industries - insurance included. The numbers revealed that CIOs are confronting a wide array of challenges. One prominent challenge is cutting costs. To achieve this, respondents said, their focus is on standardization and centralization.

One finding of the study revealed the role of CIOs is becoming less about technology and more about strategy. Accordingly, respondents indicated that on average, they devote 55% of their time to tasks related to innovation, while devoting the remaining 45% to activities related to the managing of the ongoing environment. What's more, CIOs spend a considerable amount of time creating and generating "buy-in" for innovative plans.

When respondents were asked what plans they were undertaking to enhance competitiveness, using information as an asset topped the list, with 83% saying business intelligence/predictive analytics was a top priority. Other top technologies included virtualization (76%) and risk management and compliance tools (71%). The study did find a split between respondents in high-growth and low-growth industries. Low-growth CIOs were found to devote 74% more of their time to servicing core technologies than their peers in high-growth industries.

High-growth CIOs also revealed a greater propensity to work with the business, with 64% responding that successful innovation requires deep involvement with the business, while only 33% of low-growth CIOs felt tight integration with the business was necessary.

This article can also be found at InsuranceNetworking.com.

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