More than 1,100 CIOs and IT professionals surveyed indicate they are pulled in multiple directions to address critical challenges that include security breaches and continuity failures
Nearly two out of three (63 percent) CIOs and information technology professionals report that there is a “major IT transformation” underway in their organizations, driven largely by broader efforts to deliver added value, enhance business performance and increase security, according to a new survey by global consulting firm Protiviti.
The 2014 IT Priorities Survey found that the roles of CIOs and business-minded technology leaders continue to adapt to a broader scope of responsibilities, and are shifting further from supportive functions and more toward an integrated aspect of overall business strategy and operations.
“More so than in prior years, IT departments are not only altering their structures, they are transforming their fundamental mission,” said Kurt Underwood, a managing director with Protiviti and global leader of the firm’s IT consulting practice. “The IT function’s objective is evolving from simply responding to last year’s technology requests to helping shape aspects of business strategy through execution with an integrated approach to operations that adds value and protects the enterprise.”
More than 1,100 respondents, including CIOs, IT vice presidents, and IT directors provided responses about the key issues and capabilities they consider priorities this year. Based on the survey findings, the top five major areas that present the most pressing challenges for IT professionals are:
1. Enhancing and protecting business value – aligning and integrating IT risk management and business continuity capabilities with broader, long-term business strategy
2. Cybersecurity – managing and strengthening security and privacy for the organizations’ systems and data is now a top priority across all industries
3. Data classification – effectively organizing, managing, and securing growing amounts of data within the organization
4. IT asset and data management – improving data and information governance programs, driven by the growing use of mobile devices and applications and the continued integration of cloud computing into IT strategy and processes
5. Mobile platforms and social media – incorporating secure, integrated systems for mobile commerce, devices, etc. and addressing social media safeguards and strategy within the organization
An In-depth Look at Key IT Challenges and Priorities
Protiviti’s 2014 IT Priorities Survey assessed the importance of a variety of areas across 10 different technology-related categories.
When asked to rate specific areas that are considered priorities on a scale of one (lowest) to 10 (highest), respondents consistently ranked topics linked to cybersecurity and managing data privacy as “significant priorities” (greater than 6.0) across several different categories. In the Managing Security and Privacy category, both “developing and maintaining security and privacy standards” and “monitoring security events” ranked highly with a 6.4 rating. Numerous aspects of “incident response” also ranked highly with a 6.3 rating and “managing and classifying enterprise data” was deemed to be a “significant priority” as well with a 6.2 rating.
In light of a range of factors such as weather-related events, natural disasters and cyber-attacks, companies have placed added emphasis on preparedness to protect against business disruptions. In the Ensuring Continuity category, three areas ranked as top priorities. “Business continuity management and disaster recovery program testing;” “developing and maintaining IT disaster recovery plans;” and “ensuring business alignment” all ranked highest in the category with ratings of 6.2.
CIOs and IT professionals completing Protiviti’s survey indicated that there will be greater priority placed on strategic integration into the broader enterprise. In the Defining IT Governance and Strategy category, issues including “key performance indicators (KPIs) and monitoring IT costs and benefits,” as well as “integration/alignment of IT planning and business strategy” ranked among the highest priorities with a 6.5 rating.
Protiviti’s 2014 IT Priorities Survey was fielded within the last 90 days globally with the majority of respondents from North America. More than half of the participants work in publicly traded companies and represent virtually all industry sectors, with others working across a variety of private, government and not-for-profit organizations.