With the economy struggling to get back on its feet, business productivity and cost reduction are the top concerns facing chief information officers, a report released this week by the Society for Information Management (SIM) has found.

 

 

While it should not come as a surprise, the economy has pushed the traditional top CIO priority – IT and business alignment – into the No. 2 slot, the annual IT Industry Trend Survey has found.

“The results of the study confirm that the economic downturn has caused a significant shift in priorities,” said Jerry Luftman, former SIM VP for Academic Community Affairs and Executive Director of Graduate Information Systems Programs and Distinguished Professor of Information Systems at Stevens Institute of Technology. “IT executives are focusing on ensuring that business is conducted efficiently to get more mileage out of their budgets.”

The study was commissioned by SIM – a national organization of chief information officers -- and involved in-depth surveys of about 250 CIOs and senior IT leaders. This is an annual survey done by SIM and is viewed as an important benchmark in determining such trends as IT spending, salaries, job scope of IT professionals and technical/business trends.

The full results of the survey will be presented by Luftman at the annual SIM gathering, SIMposium, scheduled for November 8-10 in Seattle. One important insight to be presented at that conference will be a gain in the percentage of CIOs reporting to the CEO or president. In the 2009 survey, 49% of respondents said they reported directly to the top executive, compared to 43.5% in 2008.

This year’s gain added more weight to the influence of CIOs in their organization after the 2007 SIM survey set off alarms. In that survey, it was found the percentage of CIOs reporting to CEOs fell almost 14% to 31.4%. When the number bounced back to near-normal levels in the 2008 survey, Luftman said he suspected the 2007 findings were an anomaly.

The 2009 survey found that the top application and technology priority is business intelligence. It was followed by server virtualization, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, customer/corporate portals, enterprise application integration/management (EAI/EAM), and continuity planning/disaster recover.

The top 10 CIO concerns are as follows:

·Business productivity and cost reduction

·IT and business alignment

·Business agility and speed to market

·Business process re-engineering

·IT cost reduction

·IT reliability and efficiency

·IT strategic planning

·Revenue generating IT innovations

·Security and privacy

·CIO leadership role