CIOs must trade off innovation and maintenance in 2012

CIOs face major challenges in trading off stretched budgets between innovative projects and keeping the business running as usual in 2012.

CIOs face major challenges in trading off stretched budgets between innovative projects and keeping the business running as usual in 2012.

In its TechWatch 2012 report, Cisco found IT budgets in 2012 will be spent on maintaining existing technology despite IT leaders’ aspirations to innovate through technology to drive the business. 

“2012 will be a year of technology trade-offs and compromise against a backdrop of volatile economic conditions,” said the Cisco report.

Cisco interviewed 250 IT decision makers at companies with over 1,000 employees.

The tension between innovating and maintaining the status quo is clear in the survey findings: 63% see 2012 as an opportunity to improve the way that IT strategy aligns with corporate goals; 47% see 2012 as a year of innovation and change; and 47% believe 2012 will see their organisations improving company performance through increased IT investment.

Some 56% say IT is regarded as a strategic asset that drives company performance rather than an operational necessity.

But 48% of IT budgets are being spent on maintaining existing assets with only £1 in every £5 being spent on deploying new technologies; and 66% said cutting costs will be emphasised in 2012 with just 42% focusing on improving company performance.

“2012 has the potential to be the Year of the Technology Leader, when trailblazing companies realise the potential of tools such as cloud and mobile connectivity to revolutionise their industries,” said Ian Foddering, Cisco UK CTO. 

“Those technology innovators who are not daunted by the economic uncertainty of the current climate, and are willing to invest in technology ahead of the curve, can take advantage of the ‘gear change’ the industry is experiencing in remote and service-based IT.” 

Balancing innovation against maintenance will not be the only trade-off. Others will include collaboration against security; productivity; network reliability; and security against flexibility and performance.

Other research around technologies such as collaboration software and social media found:

  • 60% of IT leaders believe technology that enables greater user collaboration presents new security risks;
  • 37% think the use of social networks in organisation creates productivity challenges;
  • 53% say IT strategy considers network reliability/security to be more important than network performance/flexibility.


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