2012 will be a year of change and smarter working, with IT departments focused on improving processes and finding "new ways of doing things", a survey of 170 UK businesses reveals.
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While cost cutting was the key goal across all business sectors in 2011, "doing more with less" through optimisation and innovation is the mantra for this year, according to the latest annual Strategy Survey from The Corporate IT Forum, set up to share best practice.
The survey shows that budgets across all sectors will be concentrated on key business applications, alignment of IT and the business, and risk management. There is also substantial planned focus on infrastructure investment and "working smarter".
The survey highlights some differences in expectations and priorities between the CIO and other areas of the business for 2012.
CIOs are more positive than the rest of the IT department with 42.9% forecasting a larger budget, compared with 18.9% of staff across all levels.
The only industry bucking the trend is the public sector where the focus in the coming months will remain on cost cutting, the survey shows.
The only new areas for strategic focus in 2012 reported by 20% or more of respondents in both the CIO and "all levels" groups were social media, cloud computing and communications.
But while 30% of respondents across all levels placed cloud computing first, no CIOs referenced cloud computing at all. With CIOs, the most common focus (60%) was a company-wide communications strategy.
Similarly, CIOs most commonly reported new operational goals as improving risk management, outsourcing, maximising business value and creating an agile business.
More than half of all survey respondents said skills/capabilities selection and development are being put in place or expanded to support the business strategy for 2012.
“Departments will be forced to become less risk averse next year, as it’s the only way to get projects moving and to propel the industry forward after the comparative standstill enforced by the recession,” said Ollie Ross, head of research at the Corporate IT Forum.
IT is looking to revamp its image as a "ghost department", she said, and 2012 is the year when IT will become more of an integral part of the business and recognised for the valuable service that it provides.
Key trends the UK industry is set to follow in 2012, according to the research:
- Optimising costs: doing more with less and doing it better
- Capitalising on capabilities: doing new things and doing them in new ways
- Getting IT right: enhancing decision making and enabling the business