Next Year’s CIO Agenda

We’re approaching that time of the year when pundits and their sponsors like to look back on how things went, and what the coming year might promise. For me, an enthusiastic futurist and a serial forecaster, it’s a fascinating time. So I was pleased to respond to a Computer Weekly request for ideas on the CIO agenda for 2008.

In my view the dominant issue for 2008 will be Security which will stand out as a surefire case for increased spending in a tough year of belt-tightening. It will be driven by fear, as Boards grasp the uncomfortable fact that they simply don’t have sufficient control or assurance of their management of sensitive personal data. Human factors will be an obvious focus, because it’s fashionable and it’s the area with the weakest impact that attracts the lowest security spend.

Compliance will continue to be the safest area for vendors to focus on. Imaginative business cases with payback periods of more than a year are likely to be consigned to the back burner. Unless of course you can persuade your Management Board that it’s a strategic business investment. Few IT investments hit that spot. But there’s increasing evidence that IT professionals are becoming more business-aligned. So perhaps we can anticipate some long-overdue innovation from those highly-paid CIO appointments.

Social networking, or Web 2.0 if you prefer, might be the card to play to engage the more innovative Board. But personally I’ve yet to encounter an organisation that has got to grips with the issues and the imaginative solutions needed to deliver business value. So I’ll stick with the old, and very sensible, adage of not implementing a point zero version until the service pack appears. Social networking presents huge risks. If you don’t know what you’re doing, sit back and wait for the dust to clear.