The recession has had a major impact on IT projects with a third of CIOs saying projects had been stopped. That said, IT is contributing cost reductions across firms, with 75pc of CIOs implementing automated solutions.
The CIO survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that many of the automation solutions focus on back-office activities, like finance, HR and procurement.
It found that 64pc of CIOs are supporting change projects, enabling increased business volumes without corresponding staff increases.
Some 59pc of CIOs are helping their organisation improve cost visibility and control by implementing improved management reporting and business intelligence across the business.
The downturn has had a significant impact on IT projects, with a third of respondents indicating that some projects planned or already under way in 2010 had been stopped.
Almost two-thirds reported that the scope of some projects had been curtailed. This may reflect a shift in focus to projects that can directly support business transformation and business intelligence, rather than a reduction in overall project activity.
The survey revealed that 95pc of organisations surveyed now require a business case prior to approval of significant IT expenditure. However, 33pc do not subsequently verify that the intended benefits were actually delivered.
Top IT challenges and initiatives
Some 80pc of CIOs reported that their biggest challenge was to meet business needs and maintain service levels in the context of static or reducing IT budgets.
Two out of every three cited dealing with the inflexibility of legacy systems as one of their top three challenges, while the increasing demand for management information was cited by more than 40pc.
“The recession could prove to be the catalyst that CIOs have been waiting for to increase the recognition of the value of IT, as well as increase their influence at the top management table,” explained Pat Kelleher, director, PwC Consulting in Ireland.
“Those who recognise the importance of IT and effectively exploit it will emerge stronger and better prepared for the economic upturn,” he said.
“As can be seen from the survey, leading organisations are showing the way by investing more, rather than less in IT in 2010,” Kelleher added.