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Top Two Technology Priorities for CIOs in 2011: Cloud & Virtualization

CIOs expect to adopt new cloud services much faster than originally expected, Gartner survey shows

"New infrastructure and operations technologies such as cloud services and virtualization ... were selected by CIOs the most often and are the top-two technologies for 2011," said Mark McDonald, group vice president and head of research for Gartner Executive Programs, as the results were announced of the 2011 CIO Agenda survey by Gartner Executive Programs (EXP).

"CIOs and IT have been boxed in between modest budget growth and growing legacy requirements," McDonald continued, noting that "Cloud services and virtualization are well-suited for this budget reality, as they offer similar service levels at lower budget costs."

The worldwide CIO survey was conducted by Gartner EXP from September to December 2010 and represents CIO budget plans reported at that time. According to the results, CIOs expect to adopt new cloud services much faster than originally expected. Currently, 3% of CIOs have the majority of IT running in the cloud or on SaaS technologies, but over the next four years CIOs expect this number to increase to 43%.

The survey includes responses from 2,014 CIOs representing over $160 billion in corporate and public-sector IT spending across 50 countries and 38 industries. The Gartner Executive Programs report "Reimagining IT: The 2011 CIO Agenda" represents the most-comprehensive examination of business priorities and CIO strategies.

CIOs’ IT budget projections for 2011 are globally flat, with a weighted average budget increase of 1 percent. While CIOs do not report IT budgets returning to their 2008 (pre-recession) levels, the number of those experiencing budget increases in 2011 outnumbered those reporting a cut by almost three-to-one.

In a further positive development revealed in the survey, CIOs may be able to reallocate IT budget savings, rather than simply returning them to the organization in 2011. CIOs anticipate the ability to fund infrastructure changes and new projects by reallocating resources within that budget. This approach to funding will become a standard operating procedure since Gartner does not see CIO IT budgets recovering to their 2008 peak until 2014.

CIOs report that their organizations are emphasizing growth, in addition to continued vigilance on cost and operational efficiencies. This emphasis is consistent with emerging signs of economic recovery and increasing competition to attract and retain customers.

CIOs’ IT budget projections for 2011 are globally flat, with a weighted average budget increase of 1%. While CIOs do not report IT budgets returning to their 2008 (pre-recession) levels, the number of those experiencing budget increases in 2011 outnumbered those reporting a cut by almost three-to-one.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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