CIOs Embrace Disruptive Technology, Seek IT Provider Assistance to Become Innovative

Chief information officers are realizing they can become more innovative by partnering with technology service providers, says CSC Global's new CIO survey.

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Chief information officers (CIOs) are increasingly realizing that they can become more innovative and productive if they partner with technology service providers, says the annual CIO survey of CSC Global, adding that budget constraints and shrinking resources have continued to prevent IT leaders from exploring their hidden innovation skills.

Technology providers are also empowering CIOs to save money and streamline operations. One-third (33 percent) of survey respondents reported that partners are helping them increase the size of their IT staff without exceeding their budget, and 29 percent said that partners are helping them focus on driving the business forward rather than maintaining technology.

Nearly 64 percent of participants in the study said they had increased spending on IT products. More than anything else, the survey shows that enterprises are investing their increased budgets in next-generation, innovation-enabling technologies, such as cloud computing, big data, and mobility.

“This year’s survey results clearly demonstrate that IT leaders are prioritizing initiatives that lay the groundwork for ongoing disruptive innovation,” the report stated. “For example, fully 70 percent of all respondents identify modernizing legacy applications as a ‘critical’ or ‘high priority’ for the next 12 months.”

Newer technologies are also attracting the attention of CIOs, with 69 percent of IT leaders citing big data as critical or a high priority (only slightly down from 72 percent in 2013), and 62 percent saying the same of the “Internet of Things.”

Although IT spending is rising, 66 percent of CIOs in North America named budget constraints as one of the top impediments to innovation at their firm, while 38 percent cited difficulties finding qualified staff. The talent shortage appears to be increasing payroll: 36 percent of executives identify employee salaries as the costliest item in their budget, up from just 25 percent last year.

It seems cyber security, IT production costs, and employee salaries are the major obstacles standing in the way of CIO trying to become innovative. Allowing CIOs to reallocate their time and resources for forward-thinking initiatives can certainly enable them to drive innovation, says the report.

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Other top expenses include IT production costs, licensing, and network and telecommunication costs, indicating that operations and overhead continue to consume sizable amounts of funding that might otherwise support innovation.

It is already clear that new technologies in mobility, application management, big data, and security can have the greatest positive impact on innovation. “And more strategic use of key partnerships will further enhance the efforts of disruptive CIOs on their paths to innovation and digital transformation,” the report added.

In the survey, 55 percent of participants said their use of technology providers is on the rise, while 14 percent said it is falling. CIOs, the report says, are “on the cusp of pure disruption and are primed to drive change and growth.”

It seems this finding contradicts CIO magazine’s 2015 CIO Role and Influence survey, in which large enterprises were found to be decreasing the number of partners. Some of that drop, said the magazine, may be due to industry consolidation or the wider use of cloud services and IT service providers. Some of it may be the result of vendors falling short of clients’ requirements.

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