Cloud, Cost Cutting, Continuity Top IT Management Concerns

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Cloud, Cost Cutting, Continuity Top IT Management Concerns

by Don E. Sears

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No. 10: Globalization

As the investment world has followed international opportunities, the money has been flowing from the United States and into emerging markets and the labor forces of these markets. Information technology is not immune. Whether its internal expansion of employees abroad or the challenge of competing in new, foreign markets, CIOs are increasingly adapting to the needs of emerging markets. This is the first time globalization has made it to the top 10 of tech management concerns, according to SIM's Luftman.

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No. 9: Security and Privacy

Whether its corporate hacking for customer data, corporate espionage, Website hijacking, DDoS (distributed-denial-of-service) attacks or worm and virus infections, security continues to be a top concern for technology leaders. And with the emergence of cloud computing and CIOs willingness to invest in it, balancing security needs with opportunities to save money in the cloud will continue to keep the CIO up at night.

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No. 8: IT Cost Reduction

The recession may have officially ended in June 2009, but the continued necessity of technology departments to reduce costs has become an annual IT practice around budget time. How are you going to spend less next year on IT investments? This is what the CIO, CTO and others must justify continuously. The notion of IT as a commodity is intensifying.

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No. 7: Revenue-Generating IT Innovations

Cost reduction is still critical when it comes to the commoditized areas of IT, but there are areas where companies want to profit using technology. The ease of deployment in the cloud and other plug-and-play opportunities are difficult for business executives to resist. As budgets for 2011 are increasing, so is the risk-taking in product launches using low-cost technology services to help scale quickly and broadly.

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No. 6: IT Strategic Planning

Before you can get to revenue generation from technology, you need to have a plan. Innovation takes a whole lot of work behind the scenes, including significant research of vendor capabilities, vendor contracts and insurance plans in case things do not work as smoothly as anticipated. From product roadmapping to procurement research, planning (and planning well) is critical IT work.

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No. 5: Business Process Re-engineering

Improving business and IT practices require careful workflow and process engineering between technologies and cross functional teams to deliver success. Careful analysis of systems and the people who work on them has made business process re-engineering a standard practice for C-level executives managing shifts in departments and technologies that span functional areas.

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No. 4: IT Reliability and Efficiency

Keeping a 24/7 operation in IT does not happen unless reliability is built into infrastructure management. This includes replication, backup systems, failover capabilities and closely managed performance. Business continuity is not a buzzword. Whether its outsourced or handled in-house, reliability will always rise to the top of the IT food chain with CIOs.

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No. 3: IT and Business Alignment

Alignment never ceases to be a priority for technology leaders, but given the sheer volume of business-related issues on this issues list, alignment is an essential part of bridging IT investment with business priorities. It would be naive to think that all items on this list were not about alignment. They most certainly are.

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No. 2: Business Agility and Speed to Market

Department silos are gone. If you are not helping to get product out the door (and rapidly) you are giving away competitive edge to other market players looking for any advantage in a down economy. IT has to be able to keep things reliable, but it also has to have flexibility in its resources and technology prowess. The message from the CIO: Be ready for anything.

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No. 1: Business Productivity and Cost Reduction

So what is the ultimate goal of alignment? Its making the business grow. Business grows when IT is aligned so every piece of technology investment in labor, services and systems are operating at maximum performance, while costs are aligned according to or under budget. Its death to cost overruns and failed projects. Failure is not an option.

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