IT budgets to rise in the region

More optimism in the IT sector (File)

Chief Information Officers’ (CIOs)  IT budget projections for 2011 in the Middle East indicate a projected, weighted average budget increase of 6.7 per cent, according to 2011 CIO Agenda survey by Gartner Executive Programs.

While CIOs do not report IT budgets returning to their 2008 (pre-recession) levels, 70 top CIOs in the Middle East, representing 39 per cent of IT spending, are expecting budget increases in 2011, the Gartner Executive Programs report titled ‘Reimagining IT: The 2011 CIO Agenda’ said.

Gartner Executive Programs Survey of CIOs in the Middle East also identifies enterprise applications as top technology priority for CIOs in 2011, followed by cloud as second and virtualization as the third most important technology priority.

On the other hand, increasing enterprise growth is identified as the top business priority for CIOs this year, followed jointly by attracting and retaining new customers and implementing business applications as the second business priority.

“Over the next five years, CIOs expect dramatic changes in IT as they adopt new technologies and raise their contribution to competitive advantage,” said Mark McDonald, group vice president and head of research for Gartner Executive Programs.

The worldwide CIO survey was conducted by Gartner Executive Programs from September to December 2010 and represents CIO budget plans reported at that time. 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.

“Leaders will implement new infrastructure technologies to achieve 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,” McDonald added.

A ranking of business strategies reported by CIOs in the Middle East indicates that growth is a core expectation for 2011 and beyond.

The move to growth appears to be more of a change in emphasis than a restructuring of business strategies and business expectations for IT, as prior top concerns for reducing enterprise costs and improving business processes remain important, the survey added.

Until recently, the average IT organization dedicated 66 per cent of its budget to day-to-day operations leaving little room for transformation of business strategy. CIOs see the introduction of Internet service-based technologies as changing that equation and releasing between 35 to 50 per cent of infrastructure and operational resources for innovation and growth.

This is creating a new CIO success cycle, one based on creating and realizing new sources of value, in addition to cost-effective IT operation, the survey said.



















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