CIOs: The Centre of Value Creation

By Servaas Venter, Country Manager for EMC Southern Africa

Global trends, like Big Data, cloud computing, and advanced security threats, are challenging the relationship between IT and the business, forcing a new operating model for IT. As a result, today’s CIOs must act as independent service providers, competing for the end user’s business in an open marketplace.

CIOs are at the centre of value creation. As brokers of value, CIOs will find that protecting corporate data and improving productivity are the top goals of their major technology investments over the next 12 months.

A survey conducted by EMC and IDG of more than 500 leaders in South Africa, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, and Russia identified the following priorities in investment goals: protecting corporate data (49%); improving productivity (39%); improving service levels and lowering costs (33%); and better access to real-time information as well as enabling mobile workers (32%).

Faster decision-making is also among the top benefits expected from transforming IT into an internal service provider. Big Data remains a key investment priority, with 80% of companies planning heavy-to-moderate investments over the next year.

Over half of the organisations surveyed are devising Big Data strategies to generate more value from existing data. Organisations are using Big Data analytics to reduce costs and make faster, better decisions, with 73% of respondents indicating that their organisations have deployed or begun to consider Big Data analytics tools.

As the survey results indicate, security remains top of mind for most CIOs, with 92% of companies planning heavy-to-moderate investments in security over the next year. New technologies, such as cloud and mobile, are accelerating the pace of change in our IT security environment. CIOs are clearly aware of this, as three-quarters of those surveyed agree that security strategies and investments made over the past 10 years need to be re-evaluated based on today’s threat landscape.

The groundwork continues to be laid for cloud infrastructure, with more than two-thirds of respondents agreeing that cloud computing will continue to create value for the entire organisation and spur effective collaborative relationships between IT and business stakeholders.

While cloud computing initiatives have already positively impacted organisations in several key areas, concerns still exist and many companies are somewhat reluctant to deploy mission-critical applications in the cloud.

The 2014 IDC South Africa CIO Summit is taking place from 24 to 26 March at The Maslow Hotel in Johannesburg. The theme for this year’s summit is ‘Being a CIO in the New Business World of Tech & Transformation’. The summit will explore the new types of challenges that CIOs are faced with as a result of 3rd platform technologies, or what IDC refers to as the four pillars of technology: Cloud, Big Data, Mobility and Social.

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