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Top Technologies for Competitive Edge: Biz Intel, Analytics & Self-Service, IBM Study Shows

A new global study of chief information officers (CIOs) by IBM reveals that the top technologies for enhancing competitiveness over the next five years at high-growth midsize organizations are business intelligence and analytics and self-service portals. Eighty-six percent of midmarket CIOs identified business intelligence and analytics - the ability to see patterns in vast amounts of data and extract actionable insights - and three-quarters chose self service portals.

These results and other findings are detailed in the Midmarket Executive Summary, which is part of the 2009 Global Chief Information Officer Study, the largest face-to-face survey of CIOs ever conducted. The study, titled "The New Voice of the CIO," represents the insights and vision of more than 2,500 CIOs worldwide, including 158 CIOs in 31 countries employed at midsize organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees. The Midmarket Executive Summary illustrates the increasingly strategic organizational roles that CIOs play in areas such as setting strategy, enabling flexibility and change, and solving business problems.

As part of the research, the study looked at the difference between the responses of CIOs from organizations with high growth in profits before tax and CIOs from organizations with low growth. The findings revealed that all CIOs must juggle several complementary, yet sometimes conflicting, roles, but that CIOs at high-growth midsize organizations are especially proactive about championing innovation and co-creating business strategy.

Additional data
Other key findings of the study include:

  • Midmarket CIOs are braced for continued volatility - more than half (55 percent) anticipate changing their business models over the next three years;
  • More than half of midmarket CIOs are active in developing business strategy, a number that drops to 33 percent when midsize and larger organizations are combined;
  • The most successful CIOs at midsize organizations spend close to two-thirds of their time on activities that spur innovation;
  • Fifty-eight percent of high-growth companies are focused on turning mountains of information into insight and actionable information, versus 43 percent of low-growth companies.

As CIOs in midsize organizations play an increasingly strategic role, they continue to seek new avenues for IT to produce greater business value. However, this must be balanced by an often competing pressure to lower costs and increase efficiency. In this study, midmarket CIOs in high-growth organizations are creating value by proactively turning the data their organizations hold into information that can be used to develop better products and services.

They are also taking the lead when it comes to exploring new ways of finding and interacting with customers. Over the next five years, 88 percent of high-growth midmarket CIOs plan to use new channels to attract and retain customers, while 80 percent plan to improve their organizations' integration and transparency capabilities to satisfy customer expectations. This contrasts sharply with just 72 percent and 45 percent, respectively, of low-growth midmarket CIOs.

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