Using IT to hold onto customers is emerging as the main priority for users ahead of the determination to lean on technology to support corporate cost cutting.
According to the latest survey of CEO priorities carried out by Gartner there has been a shift in what business leaders want their IT estate to deliver with customer retention and enhancing relationships now seen as key.
But the "recession-era mentality", as Gartner describes it, will not go away and CEOs will expect future investments to be paid for by savings delivered by current IT through until 2015.
"From the CEO's perspective, growing confidence that is tempered by business caution will result in an aggressiveness to harvest the successes of the past through improved productivity," said Jorge Lopez, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
"At the same time, CEOs are taking those returns and investing them in building a future that can deliver high returns," he added.
The analyst house identified a handful of key issues that CEOs should focus on this year with the aim of completing the restructuring started in the downturn at the top of the list.
It also advised CEOs rebuild trust with customers, plan for growth, and to chart the impact of the recession on vertical markets.