CEOs and CIOs walk the tightrope in 2013

CEOs and CIOs walk the tightrope in 2013

IDC and PwC reports note the big challenges ahead as they balance ongoing budget pressures, the business imperative for growth and technology changes.

IDC says New Zealand CIOs will need to become “tightrope walkers” this year as they balance ongoing budget pressures, the business imperative for growth and technology changes. CIOs also need to expand their network of influence beyond traditional IT decision makers, IDC states in its 10 New Zealand ICT Predictions report. The research firm points to the growing influence of line of business (LOB) managers, who are increasingly taking technology decisions, and being targeted by vendors.

IDC identifies six areas CIOs can focus on:

• Setting business strategy, as they educate the business on what is “possible” and orchestrate “right sourcing approach”.

• Widening the choice of platforms, using the “fail small often” strategy as risk mitigation.

• Improving resource capability, by investing in retention strategies for key personnel and mentorship programmes.

• Improving governance to ensure technology investments will have a beneficial impact on expectation management from a time, budget and outcome perspective.

• Adopting a more flexible approach to consuming computing power that will “liberate” CIOs to focus on business transformation.

• Better data management: caring for it and drawing value from it.

See also:

Digital technologies are the top priorities for 2013

Gartner survey highlights the need for CIOs to set aside old rules and adopt new tools.

Meanwhile, IDC makes 10 predictions that it says will drive New Zealand’s ICT market this year:

1. There will be further consolidation and disruption across the sector, and these will include market exits, acquisitions and new entrants.

2. Businesses will accelerate the reduction of ownership of IT infrastructure.

3. Users will explore video collaboration but cost will be an issue.

4. The New Zealand government will intervene to protect its Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative. This may be through relaxing contract criteria with its Local Fibre Company (LFC) partners or changing telco regulations to “join up” the law to achieve policy objectives.

5. Machine to machine computing will be a growth opportunity for mobile operators, as enterprises use it to cut costs and increase productivity.

6. Vendors will focus on software defined networks which promise to increase flexibility while reducing operational costs.

7. Windows Phone 8 will secure the third spot in the OS landscape.

8. Medium-sized businesses will be the most challenging segment to service as LOB managers exert greater influence on IT purchases.

9. The next generation workspace roadmap — encompassing the convergence of employer and employee adoption of technology — will be a top priority for CIOs.

10. Mobility management services will become a “must have”, rather than a “nice to have”, with IDC predicting that by 2016 over three-quarters of mobile phone shipments in New Zealand will be smartphones.

View from the top

Chief executives, meanwhile, face similar challenges as the global economy continues to stall.

PwC’s 16th Annual Global CEO survey finds corporate chiefs are generally more worried about a wider range of issues than they were a year ago. Top of the list is continuing uncertainty over economic growth, cited by 81 percent of respondents.

“Everybody is focused on growth in a low-growth environment,” says PwC New Zealand CEO Bruce Hassall. “How do you manage short-term growth and the challenges that come with that, while trying to put long-term plans in place in a world that is changing?”

He says a clear trend in the report, Dealing with disruption — Adapting to survive and thrive, is that organisations are looking “much harder” at their technology spend.

“Organisations are becoming much more focused, not just on their technology spend which is going up, but on how does it actually create value? How will this make the organisation more efficient? How will that improve operational effectiveness? Will that allow us to connect more with our customers?”

At the same time organisations should also be prepared to spend on technology. “You can’t always sit back and wait for everything to be fully established,” says Hassall. “Sometimes you have got to take some calculated risks, try some things. You have got to be nimble about the way you use technology as well.”

More than half (58 percent) of CEOs said lack of key skills will hamper business growth.

Technology is up with mining, engineering and construction, communications and insurance, as sectors most affected by the skills shortage. “In the global concern around skills shortage, the war for talent in technology would be top of the list,” says Hassall.

Divina Paredes (@divinap) is editor of CIO New Zealand.

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