CIO Priorities survey - Cloud investment and mobile research

With a focus over the next year on cutting costs and increasing efficiency, CIOs expect the cloud to overtake mobile developments as the second largest driver of transformation at their organisations behind data analytics, according to CIO UK's CIO Priorities survey. But with clear mobile strategies which are in the deployment and pilot stages, the UK's business technology leaders are anything but ignoring the current mobility explosion.

CIO UK, in association with Intel, spoke to more than 150 senior IT executives to learn about the state and future of the business technology industry; covering budgets, transformation drivers, and mobile strategy, as well as the management, technology and spending priorities of the UK’s business technology leaders. Two-thirds of the respondents to the study were the head of IT in the UK at their organisation, with 71% representing organisations of more than 1,000 employees.

Almost half of the respondents said that data analytics had driven the most transformation at their organisations to date followed by mobile, but that cloud computing was expected to become the second biggest transformation driver over the coming year as increasing efficiency and reducing cost become the leading priorities.

Budgeting

The CIO Priorities survey revealed a stark contrast in the proportion of budgets allocated to IT and business technology between small and large companies and across industries. While organisations of 250-499 employees spent an average of 6% of their turnover on IT, larger companies spent almost double that.

Mid-size organisations of between 500 and 999 staff spent 11.91% of their turnover on IT, with large companies of more than 1,000 employees forking out 11.63%.

Education, at 19.3%, and finance (12.4%) allocated the highest proportion of their budget on IT, while manufacturing (5.8%) and retail (4.7%) spending the least.

But while the retail sector has been holding back on IT investments in recent years, IT executives responded their companies are now freeing up capital to invest in business technology, with 58% saying they would have an increased budget in the next 12 months. This places retail second in increased budget spending behind transport (64%), while 46% in the health industry expected their IT budgets to increase this year.

These figures are against the backdrop of a large degree of stagnation; 38% of IT budgets will remain the same, with the remainder split evenly between budget increases and decreases.

Unsurprisingly, the public sector will see the heftiest budget cuts, while mid-size companies are more likely to increase the proportion of their budget spent on IT as they see the business benefits associated with increased spending on business technology.

Transformation

As noted above and previously covered on CIO UK, while the UK's IT executives said that the largest driver of transformation was data analytics, they expected the cloud to overtake mobile as the second biggest driver – but they responded that social developments would continue to have little impact.

The big shift to the cloud is being driven by education and government, and also the finance sector where 22% expected the cloud to be the biggest driver of transformation, up from 0%.

Related:

This statistic could suggest that cloud security is becoming less of a concern as the industry realises the benefits associated with cloud computing.

CIO Priorities

UK IT executives responded that their leading business priorities for the coming year were increasing efficiency and reducing costs. The survey revealed that developing new products and expanding into new markets were low priorities for companies of all sizes.

However, small organisations differed slightly from their larger counterparts by also considering aligning operational focus as a priority. In the finance, media and software industries, customer retention was the main business priority, but the media industry bucked the trend with business technology leaders selecting increasing growth was their main concern.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey showed that security technologies were by far the most deployed technologies across all organisations, but that mobile, business intelligence and collaboration tools will all be high priorities over the next year, and that social media was the most researched.

Following on from transformation drivers, IT executives responded to the CIO Priorities survey that cloud computing and data management were their leading spending priorities over the next 12 months, and that hardware and infrastructure were set to see the biggest cuts as organisations turn to external providers.

Mobile strategy

Even though mobile developments were not deemed by senior IT executives to have driven the largest transformation at their organisations, we found out that 58% of the UK’s technology leaders had a clear mobile strategy for the coming year, with smartphones deemed the most popular enterprise device closely followed by tablets.

However, while mid-market companies were tending towards smartphones, the importance of ultrabooks and light/mobile PCs increased in larger enterprises, and ultrabooks were even preferred over tablets in the media and entertainment industries, IT executives responded.

Interestingly, the survey revealed that mid-market companies are ahead of larger organisations when it comes to the mobile enterprise, with 62% having a clear mobile strategy compared to only 56% of organisations of more than 1,000 staff.

Again a difference across industries was revealed, with nearly 80% of IT execs in the finance and health industries reporting they have a clear mobile strategy in place, although amazingly not a single respondent from the health sector has actually deployed their mobile applications strategy.

Furthermore, of those with a mobile strategy only 45% are actually at the deployment stage of deploying their mobile application technologies, with the remainder still at the research or pilot programme stage suggesting that although mobile could be replaced as the second largest driver of business transformation behind cloud computing, the future of mobile is undeniable for the UK’s business technology leaders.

To learn more about the 2013 CIO Priorities survey, visit here.