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Reimagine IT: the 2011 CIO Agenda

by Mark P. McDonald  |  January 21, 2011  |  5 Comments

Its time to reimagine IT as business and technical changes require CIOs to answer new questions rather than just find new answers to old questions. That is what Dave Aron and myself found as we completed a worldwide CIO survey from September to December 2010. The survey includes responses from 2,014 CIOs representing more than $160 billion in corporate and public-sector IT spending across 50 countries and 38 industries.

The findings are captured in a report entitled Reimagine IT: the 2011 CIO agenda. Here is an executive summary .  There is also a websitewhere we will be adding additional content and the original Gartner Press Release . We will also be adding commentary on this blog from time to time regarding the survey findings.

It is time to reimagine IT because for years, CIOs and IT have been boxed in between modest budget growth and growing legacy requirements. Those limitations are lifting as CIOs look to re-source their applications and infrastructure via Internet based services.

According to the CIOs responding to the survey they expect to adopt new cloud services much faster than originally expected. Currently three percent of CIOs have the majority of IT running in the cloud or on software as a service (SaaS) technologies, but over the next four years CIOs indicate that this number is expected to increase to 43 percent.

New lighter weight technologies and IT models enable the CIO to redefine IT giving it a greater focus on growth and strategic impact. These are two things that are missing from many organizations.  CIOs will need the ability to reallocate IT budget savings rather than return them back to the organization in 2011. CIOs anticipate the ability to fund infrastructure changes and new projects by reallocating resources within that budget. These will be common approaches for funding as CIOs do not expect CIO IT budgets will recover to their 2008 peak until 2014.

Over the next five years, CIOs expect dramatic changes in IT as they adopt new technologies and raise their contribution to competitive advantage. Leaders will implement new infrastructure technologies to achieve both increased efficiency and to redirect IT resources to create greater business impact. Pursuit of that leadership agenda will raise complex issues ranging from re-imaging IT’s role in their organization to the creative destruction necessary to break old practices and redeploy resources to new initiatives.

To reimagine IT, a CIO begins with a new conception of the IT organization and its contribution to the enterprise. This idea of reimagining comes from the entertainment industry, whose creative minds often take a familiar story and think, what if we …? By changing situations, characters and plots, they give the story new life, creating new storytelling opportunities and engaging audiences in new ways.

With almost half of CIOs planning to move the majority of their applications and infrastructure to the cloud over the next five years, CIOs have an opportunity to reimagine IT by looking at current resources and asking what would be possible if they were deployed in other ways. CIOs who take advantage of these technologies as they reimagine IT bring truly new thinking to the enterprise and avoid a future anchored too firmly in the past.

This is a unique time for IT as CIO strategies focus on new architectures and the potential of these lighter-weight technologies. With business expectations for growth and cost cutting also on the minds of CIOs, the door to reimagining IT is wide open.

The choice is yours.

As a CIO or IT leader you can continue to find answers to old questions that are immediately relevant but do not advance the organization or IT’s value. Or you can reimagine new questions, regarding growth, global support, innovation, new products and technologies and find new answers to those questions.

The direction you take, the imagination you exercise will set the stage for your future in IT in your organization.

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Category: 2011  leadership  re-imagine-it  strategic-planning  strategy  

Tags: 2011-planning  cio  cio-leadership  it-and-business  it-strategy  re-imagine-it  

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a Vice President and Fellow Emeritus in Gartner for General Managers Program.




Thoughts on Reimagine IT: the 2011 CIO Agenda


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Denise Dubie, Mark P. McDonald, Chris Forte, dwthomas22, UK Technology News and others. UK Technology News said: Reimagine IT: the 2011 CIO Agenda: Its time to reimagine IT as business and technical changes require CIOs to an… http://bit.ly/fJb6UT […]

  2. […] top concerns, with advice from IT executives deep in the trenches, as well as from industry experts.Reimagine IT: the 2011 CIO Agenda by Mark McDonald on The Gartner Blog NetworkQuote: Its time to reimagine IT as business and technical changes require CIOs to answer new […]

  3. […] This appears to indicate that many CIOs could use cloud infrastructure and services to cut costs and improve business processes, Gartner analyst and report co-author Mark McDonald wrote in his blog. […]

  4. […] In this article we will focus on the change that should happen inside the enterprise’ IT team. Whatever it is a small or a huge enterprise, the changes are real and the basic questions we can ask are – what are the new cloud management skills? and how and the IT organization can acquire them?  “Positive results come from having the right people with the right skills on the right projects. Unfortunately, only one in five CIOs has a high degree of confidence in the skills of their team. How do CIOs get the skills they need? Most hire temporary resources to cover the gaps. This gets the job done but creates a skills crisis, as IT personnel do not then have the opportunity to upgrade their skills to create and sustain business results” by Mark McDonald on Gartner’s blog […]

  5. […] In this article we will focus on the change that should happen inside the enterprise’ IT team. Whatever it is a small or a huge enterprise, the changes are real and the basic questions we can ask are – what are the new cloud management skills? and how and the IT organization can acquire them?  “Positive results come from having the right people with the right skills on the right projects. Unfortunately, only one in five CIOs has a high degree of confidence in the skills of their team. How do CIOs get the skills they need? Most hire temporary resources to cover the gaps. This gets the job done but creates a skills crisis, as IT personnel do not then have the opportunity to upgrade their skills to create and sustain business results” by Mark McDonald on Gartner’s blog […]



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