CIOs face juggling act

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on March 15, 2002

A new GartnerEXP report reveals that CIOs face a juggling act: how to keep costs and budgets down while still delivering more to the stakeholders. Is it possible?

The life of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is especially difficult at the moment. A Gartner survey reveals that the top two business trends in 2002 are to keep costs and budgets down, and to deliver more to the stakeholders. What's new? you might ask. What's new is that things are getting even tighter. This is revealed in a new Gartner Executive Programs report, based on a survey of its 1,500 member CIO community.

According to GartnerEXP's group vice president, Marianne Broadbent, "IT budgets have stalled for the first time in five years. Difficult decisions have to be taken now. The results of the report challenge CIOs to balance the immediate with the most important - to make sure they control costs and deliver real value without cutting into organisational muscle."

And in order to achieve these goals, CIOs who want to maintain credibility must be able to deliver short-term results while maintaining the long view.

Top Ten priorities 
According to the survey, the top ten IS management priorities in 2002 are:
·  Strategising for IS/business linkage.
·  Providing leadership and guidance for the board/executive.
·  Demonstrating the business value of IS.
·  Developing the IS senior management team.
·  Reducing total IT costs.
·  Strengthening programme/project prioritisation and management.
·  Tightening security and privacy safeguards.
·  Developing e-enabling IT architectures.
·  Attracting, nurturing and sustaining IS resources.
·  Reducing IT complexity.

Demonstrating business value took a back seat in 2001; it's now third on the list. Broadbent predicts that projects with longer payback periods will be put on the back burner until 2005, when cost pressures are expected to have eased.

Three guidelines
GartnerEXP says there are three guidelines that will assist CIOs to do this:
·  Respond to the immediate and proactively cut costs.
·  Don't forget the important: develop enterprise IS leadership strength.
·  Use IT governance to encourage desirable behaviours and shape agendas.

"It's time for clear focus on short-term cost cutting, but there is an upturn coming - even if it is uneven," Broadbent said. "While CIOs and enterprises are struggling to weather the present storm, they need to be positioning themselves for future opportunities. Fortune will favour the balanced in 2002 as they will succeed in the short-term and be well placed for the upturn."

For more information on the summary report Keep Your Balance: The 2002 CIO Agenda click here

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