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The 10 key concerns for CIOs and the five things you can do now to address them

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Now in its 36th year, The Society for Information Management's (SIM) IT Trends Study has taken the pulse of the IT industry and identified 10 key concerns for CIOs in the year ahead.

I think there are five things YOU can do NOW to address them all.

First, though, why take notice?

Well firstly, SIM's poll of its members is a pretty robust survey. Compiling responses from 1,218 members across 785 organisations, the SIM study always accurately reflects the mood of the industry - and so it should - when you consider that the respondents, between them, are responsible for something in the region of $250 billion of IT spending this year.

Secondly, it's the depth of the data that SIM 'Hoovers’ up, I mean, these guys drill deep down into a wide range of key IT issues from headcount to executive time management; skills gaps to remuneration and budgets; measuring performance to identifying priorities.

If it's kept you awake, it will be in SIM's study.

The 2016 IT Trends Study identified the following as the Top 10 key issues - I'm fascinated that they pretty much fall in the same order as a list of issues that would keep me awake - I'd love to hear in what order you would prioritise them, please get in touch.

The Top Ten CIO Concerns

1 - Alignment of IT / Business Goals

2 - Security

3 - Speed of IT Delivery / Time-to-Market

4 - Innovation

5 - Business Productivity / Efficiency

6 - IT Value Proposition to the Business Goals

7 - IT Agility / Flexibility

8 - IT Cost Reduction

9 - Business Agility / Flexibility

10 - Business Cost Reduction and Control

Sometimes, in business, the gods of serendipity smile upon us and you find that by sorting one issue, other problems in your organisation sort themselves or at least a solution moves closer. I think that the SIM study is a case in point.

Nail that number one concern - align your IT with your strategic business objectives - and many of the other concerns on the list will fall in line for you.

If your IT infrastructure is working at full power towards a defined business goal you should find that as your IT costs reduce, for example, so too will your business operational costs.

Proof of this, I believe, is the current position of the concern about business agility and flexibility on the list. It had ranked in the top three for the last six years, during which time CIOs have sought to align their IT/business strategies and the result is that business agility is now less of a worry. Why? If your IT and business goals are aligned by sorting the flexibility of your IT you make your business more flexible too.

Consequently, IT leaders are no longer viewing themselves just as technology experts they are also mindful of the very significant role that they can play towards their organisation achieving its strategic goals and when that happens everyone wins.

Considering all the above, here are five things I think you should consider;

1 - Seek Independent Business Focused IT Advice.

Often an external set of unbiased eyes can identify gaps between your IT and your business strategy. Get help to align your IT to your organisational goals and solve your business problems. IT Value and Benefit Assessments can provide a gap analysis between the business objective and the current IT capability to support the objective, aligning infrastructure and service capability to business requirement.

2 - Investigate Service Delivery Management 'as a Service'.

By entrusting your daily lights-on functionality to experienced Service Delivery Management, you free up your resources to concentrate on your business and you can avoid having to manage multiple suppliers and contracts.

3 - Assess the efficiency of your Project Management Office.

Identify gaps and consider filling them with functionality bought in 'as a Service'. Kick start your PMO and the contribution it will make to aligning your business and IT goals will be tangible.

4 - Consider talent as a platform to be innovative with.

I am so going to write another blog about this, but for now, The Gartner 2016 CIO Agenda reports that 66% of CIOs believe there is a talent crisis and the biggest gaps are in information and business knowledge. This is going to be the key to IT / Business Alignment challenge.

And finally the magic bullet ...

5 - Multisource.

Multisourcing with the right partner will save you money (while improving and constantly enhancing IT support and services). You get to access and utilise essential IT resources in the most efficient way and align and integrate best of breed providers into your business – to benefit your business. As a result, you can optimise in-house staffing levels and resources, reduce management overheads, ease supplier management, streamline processes and reduce operational risk through contract freedom and flexibility. Compliance, governance, transparency and security can all be improved.

How many of the 10 concerns raised by the IT Trends Study does that magic bullet tick off? Pretty much all of them.

In conclusion, to remain competitive, all businesses need to align their IT and business objectives.

Nail that number one concern - and watch the rest fall into place.

Find out more about Service Delivery Assessments from Stoneseed

Sources:
Society for Information Management's 2016 SIM IT Trends Study
Gartner CIO Agenda Insights 2016

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