Nearly two out of three (63%) CIOs and information technology professionals report that there is a “major IT transformation” underway in their organisations, driven largely by broader efforts to deliver added value, enhance business performance and increase security.
The 2014 IT Priorities Survey, by global consulting firm Protiviti, found that the roles of CIOs and business-minded technology leaders continue to adapt to a broader scope of responsibilities, and are shifting further from supportive functions and more toward an integrated aspect of overall business strategy and operations.
“More so than in prior years, IT departments are not only altering their structures, they are transforming their fundamental mission,” said Kurt Underwood, a managing director with Protiviti and global leader of the firm’s IT consulting practice.
“The IT function’s objective is evolving from simply responding to last year’s technology requests to helping shape aspects of business strategy through execution with an integrated approach to operations that adds value and protects the enterprise.”
More than 1,100 respondents, including CIOs, IT vice presidents, and IT directors provided responses about the key issues and capabilities they consider priorities this year. Based on the survey findings, the top five major areas that present the most pressing challenges for IT professionals were revealed.
1) Enhancing and protecting business value
Aligning and integrating IT risk management and business continuity capabilities with broader, long-term business strategy.
2) Cyber security
Managing and strengthening security and privacy for the organisations’ systems and data is now a top priority across all industries.
3) Data classification
Effectively organising, managing and securing growing amounts of data within the organisation.
4) IT asset and data management
Improving data and information governance programs, driven by the growing use of mobile devices and applications and the continued integration of cloud computing into IT strategy and processes.
5) Mobile platforms and social media
Incorporating secure, integrated systems for mobile commerce, devices, etc. and addressing social media safeguards and strategy within the organisation.
The survey assessed the importance of a variety of areas across 10 different technology-related categories.
When asked to rate specific areas that are considered priorities, respondents consistently ranked topics linked to cyber security and managing data privacy as “significant priorities” across several different categories.
In the managing security and privacy category, both “developing and maintaining security and privacy standards” and “monitoring security events” ranked highly. Numerous aspects of “incident response” also ranked highly, and “managing and classifying enterprise data” was deemed to be a “significant priority” as well.
In light of a range of factors such as weather-related events, natural disasters and cyber attacks, companies have placed added emphasis on preparedness to protect against business disruptions. In the ensuring continuity category, three areas ranked as top priorities: business continuity management and disaster recovery program testing; developing and maintaining IT disaster recovery plans; and ensuring business alignment.
CIOs and IT professionals completing Protiviti’s survey indicated that there will be greater priority placed on strategic integration into the broader enterprise. In the defining IT governance and strategy category, issues including “key performance indicators (KPIs) and monitoring IT costs and benefits”, as well as “integration/alignment of IT planning and business strategy” ranked among the highest priorities.