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Business Intelligence and analytics: top priorities for CIOs in 2016

It’s clear from the results of our 2015 Global CIO Survey that the ‘internal service provider’ model is taking shape, with IT departments much more focused on IT services management and service integration as opposed to simply managing technology. This year, we looked at the rate of adoption of a series of technologies that can play a vital role in enabling IT departments to operate as service providers – social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC), Business Intelligence (BI) and software defined technologies (SDx).

SMAC adoption

SMAC technologies have garnered a great deal of media attention over the last 12 months, but is this hype reflected in CIO views? We asked CIOs to rate the role of each in driving business innovation. Globally, mobile and analytics were clear winners – with 62% and 63% respectively citing them as ‘very important’ or ‘critical’ to business innovation – reflecting an ongoing trend towards real time business in which anywhere, any time access to applications and insight is ever more important.

Cloud technologies lag behind at 47%, but this is more likely to reflect the overall maturity of the cloud model, which is increasingly seen as ‘business as usual’ technology. Social, however, lags well behind, with only 37% of CIOs viewing services such as collaboration software, social internet and community hubs as having high importance.

BI boom

CIOs in the Asia-Pacific region mirrored the global responses, with analytics coming out on top at 60%. This is supported by Gartner’s annual Australian CIO survey, in which business intelligence and analytics topped the list of new technology investment priorities for CIOs in the ANZ region in 2016 as they look to monetise big data. This was also the area with the top ranking globally. 

Despite it being a priority and a top area of IT spending, the majority of CIOs responding to our survey do not believe that their organisations are making the most of investments in BI technologies; rather that they have invested in technologies that do not fully support business needs. Globally, not even half (48%) of CIOs get real time information from BI, the same proportion (48%) get information on well-defined business metrics, and only 29% derive actionable business insight from BI.

These limitations ultimately prevent BI solutions from delivering the tangible business benefits and measurable ROI that are vital in an internal service provider model. Only a quarter of organisations (27%) realise increased sales as a result of insight from BI and less than half (47%) benefit from operational efficiencies. CIOs cited lack of budget, lack of time, complexity, lack of expertise and lack of clarity around business requirements as the barriers to implementing highly effective BI or analytics solutions.

Attitudes to SDx

SDx technologies, such as software defined networking, software defined storage and software defined data centre, have the potential to transform networks and data centres into dynamic service platforms. Considering the transformation IT departments are undergoing to become more service oriented, we were interested in finding out whether CIOs’ attitudes to these technologies have changed over the last 12 months.

Our 2014 survey found that 83% of CIOs planned to implement SDx in one form or another, sooner or later. However, this year’s survey showed that the number of CIOs with no plans to adopt has doubled – more than one third (32%) now say they have no plans to adopt SDx. Interestingly, while more CIOs have turned their backs on SDx, the pace of adoption amongst the rest has picked up. The number of organisations that have adopted SDx has doubled in one year – from 9% in 2014 to 18% today. This suggests that a significant majority of CIOs see SDx as a key service enabling technology.

Data is big business

Clearly, CIOs around the world recognise the importance of digital and software defined technologies in facilitating their IT departments’ transformations into internal service providers. BI and analytics are at the top of the priority list for IT leaders, but CIOs are struggling to overcome significant barriers to implementation. Even so, as Gartner’s survey showed, business intelligence software will be one of the hottest technologies in Australian enterprises over the next year.

To download the full report of our 2015 Global CIO Survey findings, click here.

Tags big data analytics, CIO, CIO Leadership, Cloud, analytics, CIOs, role of CIO, CIO role, mobility, SMAC, Social media

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