I recently came across an interesting article on InformationWeek by Rob Preston.  He covers the top 10 technology priorities for US CIOs.  A lot of the article was the usual buzzword bingo of “big data, consumerization of IT, and social media.” Of course cloud computing was mentioned, but interestingly enough he makes a point on #9 that it’s the “exploration of cloud computing” not the “embracing.”  Specifically he states, But rather than migrate whole hog to public cloud services, most U.S. companies are looking to build hybrid clouds, capitalizing on the flexibility of cloud architectures while keeping their most sensitive or critical workloads behind their own firewalls.”  We’ve heard many people talking about the idea of the “enterprise cloud restart.”  This concept is built from the premise that many enterprises have built “something” but it didn’t accomplish the goal, or worse yet, there was no specific goal.   So in additon to evaluating which type of cloud, many firms are also re-evaluating what cloud success looks like and what is realistic.

CIO Top Ten IT priorities

Technology Priorities for US CIOs


So you might be asking, what were the top 3 priorities? I think these points can be summarized as faster, cheaper, and easier.

  • #3: Stop spending 70-80% on maintenance
  • #2: Align IT and the business
  • #1: Make IT faster

First the scary part, just in time for Halloween.  Point #3 highlights that cost issues aren’t shifting out of IT, even with virtualization.  Specifically, Mr. Preston states, “As represented by our annual InformationWeek 500 ranking, even the most innovative IT users spend 63% of their IT budgets on ongoing operations as opposed to new initiatives–a percentage that has barely budged in a decade.” Considering how fast cloud computing and new application development is moving, it’s hard to believe this is still an issue.  When you compound the costs with the anticipated efficiencies hoped for from virtualization, we see both elements have remained relatively constant.  For example, customers that expected 70% server utilization are really only seeing 30%.

Points 1 and 2 are refreshing that they came up as points 1 and 2.  We all call this revolution “cloud computing,” but these two points get to the reality that we need efficiencies in IT, in real terms.  Specifically, by adding automation, governance, self service and management to many aspects, IT teams can have the agility they need, even on a large scale.  As stated in the article, “As the American Express CIO Toby Redshaw looks at the challenge in a positive light, stating in a recent presentation to the company’s board: “Small agile beats big slow–big agile beats everything.””  2012 needs to be the year that IT teams find a project (start small), set some goals on efficiency in order to best serve the business and start to test the waters.  Don’t try to boil the ocean, pick something to be successful with, learn from it and show success.