Cloud computing is the priority of UK and Irish CIOs, according to Cisco’s latest TechWatch 2012 report. Almost half of IT budgets are spent maintaining existing assets and infrastructure.
On the surface the study says IT decision makers are upbeat about 2012, with high aspirational goals for deploying technology that is innovative and that can drive their organisations forward.
Cloud is rated as the No 1 priority along with security, mobile device support and remote access.
The Cisco study finds that 2012 will be a year of technology ‘trade-offs’ and compromise set against a backdrop of volatile economic conditions.
Nearly two-thirds (63pc) see 2012 as an opportunity to improve the way IT strategy aligns with corporate goals, with just 15pc seeing it as a year of threats to the current alignment.
IT professionals have high aspirations for 2012, seeing it as a year of innovation and change (47pc) with less than a quarter (24pc) regarding it as a year of consolidation and review.
Almost half (47pc) believe 2012 will see their organisations improving company performance through increased IT investment. Only 24pc feel this can happen without IT investment.
IT is more widely regarded as a strategic asset that drives company performance (56pc) than an operational necessity that supports company needs (30pc).
Tech tensions and trade-offs
But 2012 spend doesn’t necessarily reflect a focus on innovation and change. Almost half of budget is being spent on maintaining existing assets/infrastructure (48pc). Cost cutting is a focus (66pc) for 2012, with just 42pc focusing on improving company performance.
“(The year) 2012 has the potential to be the Year of the Technology Leader, when trail-blazing companies realise the potential of tools, such as cloud and mobile connectivity, to revolutionise their industries," Ian Foddering, Cisco Ireland & UK CTO, explained.
“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."
The research further shows that despite ‘trailblazing’ aspirations, many IT leaders will be forced into trade-offs and making compromises in 2012. Key areas of conflict include innovation against maintenance; collaboration against security or productivity and network reliability and security against flexibility and performance.
Some 60pc think technology that enables greater user collaboration presents new security risks and 37pc think the use of social networks within an organisation creates productivity challenges.
About 56pc think the responsibility of IT is to control end-user behaviour, to reduce security risks, while 53pc say IT strategy considers network reliability/security to be more important than network performance/flexibility.