According to a recent IBM (NYSE: IBM) global study of CIOs, the top strategic technology investment over the next five years at outperforming midsize organizations is using business analytics to extract actionable insights from big data.
The study also indicated that cloud computing emerged as the fastest growing technology area for CIOs.
The IBM study looked at what constitutes the fundamental tasks of the CIO and what traits define outperforming CIOs as they infuse technology into products, services and processes to transform their business, drive profitability and expand into new areas.
The study, The Essential CIO - Midmarket CIO Study 2011, reflects the increasingly important role played by CIOs of midsize companies as the global economy continues to recover.
"As the economy recovers and CIOs look more to driving transformation in their companies, their role is evolving to become more and more associated with extracting value from technology and gaining insight from complex systems," said Ed Abrams, vice president of marketing for IBM's global midmarket business. "CIOs who consider themselves over-performers are aware of their increased impact on the organization and are steadily turning to analytics and cloud to pursue their visionary goals."
Big Data Identified by CIOs as Top Priority Investment
CIOs surveyed identified analytics, the ability to extract actionable insights from "Big Data" as their top-priority investment area by 83 percent. CIOs are looking to invest in technologies such as analytics and data mining that not only help them better utilize structured data, but also unstructured data in the form of videos, blogs and tweets that can be obtained through the social web.
Like their peers in larger companies, mid-market CIOs are facing an increasingly complex business environment defined by sweeping changes and the need for gaining greater intelligence, insight and visibility. These CIOs increasingly view tackling big data as a key imperative for both gaining insight and expanding relationships with customers and partners.
The Shift to Mobile and Cloud Computing
There was also a 50 percent increase in the number of midsize organizations that plan to invest in cloud computing when compared to IBM's 2009 mid-market CIO study. CIOs are now 50 percent more likely to pursue investments in cloud over the next three to five years to take advantage of the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of using hardware and software resources offered through the cloud.
Trends such as the growth of Internet-connected devices and smartphones are driving CIOs to consider more powerful ways to harness mobile applications that drive commerce, better collaboration and enhanced workforce mobility.
According to the IBM study, the percentage of CIOs who plan to invest in mobility solutions increased by 11 percent over 2009 to 72 percent.