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CIOs Optimistic But Fret Over Cloud and Governance

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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New research has indicated that the majority of CIOs are positive going forward, but are fretting over cloud computing and governance

A welcome indication that the worst recession in living memory may be ending has come after a new research found that 71 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) are positive about the business outlook.

However this contrasted to 19 percent of CIOs who remained neutral, and 10 percent who were fairly pessimistic. So found networking organisation CIO Connect in its latest research, which which surveyed approximately 120 CIOs from some of the largest companies in the UK, North America and Asia.

Despite this optimism, there are some headaches and challenges ahead for CIOs after two thirds of respondents said that business transformation had moved up their agenda (33 percent strongly). And the pace of change is unlikely to slow down as many as 65 percent of CIOs believed that business requirements in the future will change at a pace faster than the ability of the IT team to implement them.

But the research also backed up documented concerns that businesses have over adopting the cloud model for their business applications. There seems to be a clear split in opinion on whether the cloud is having a major impact on the way IT was delivered; while 40 percent agreed (12 percent strongly), a fifth disagreed.

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Those CIOs in favour felt cloud computing provided a radical proposition, offering huge potential for change because of the arrival of mainstream broadband, virtualisation and remote management techniques.

This veiwpoint was backed up by Gartner, which predicted that by 2012, 20 percent of businesses will own no IT assets, as more companies take advantage of virtualisation and cloud-enabled businesses.

Meanwhile 84 percent of respondents also believe that governance has to become more agile, as “too often today governance is rolled into audit and compliance, taking up enormous amounts of time from the CIO, their team and business colleagues.”

The demand for flexibility and responsiveness is such that many of the old ways of IT management are no longer adequate,” said CIO Connect’s CEO Nick Kirkland. “Looking forward our CIO’s are very aware of the challenges they face and in the main are addressing those challenges with optimism.”

CIO Connect is advising CIOs to take the following five steps in order to prepare for the future:

  1. Work closely with business colleagues and look at how the organisation might change during the next five years, given the macro-economic realities
  2. Assess relationships with your peers – are CIOs considered a business leader? What could they do better? Are they seen as one of the team?
  3. Review outputs with their leadership team to ensure that they are preparing for the changed world. Make appropriate changes, and communicate throughout the organisation why such alteration is necessary
  4. Determine if the company’s governance is both strong enough to meet regulatory needs and flexible enough to deliver business benefit. Propose changes, and follow through the difficult challenge of getting agreement from business colleagues on how decisions are to be taken, separate from taking the decisions
  5. Define how they will actively support business innovation