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IT Priorities for 2017

CIO-Budget-2017.gifWhile 2016 feels like it's just underway, IT leaders are prioritzing their IT projects for 2017.

This is typically the time of the year when budget requests are submitted by various departments.

For the IT department’s budget, the pitch for funding is normally led by the CIO. With the way IT is turning into such an essential arm of any business, the monetary requests can match or exceed the largest of any department.

Take for instance the Department of Defense (DoD). Last week, their CIO, Terry Halverson, requested a budget of $38.2 billion, with $6.8 billion in DoD cyber operations.

Halverson expressed concerns that there wasn’t enough money for the DoD to fulfill this request. That’s why he’s prioritized cyber security and cyber operations as one of the sub-segments of the budget that needs to be honored.

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The Talent Gap

On the whole, cyber security certainly leads the way for priority. But another major issue for CIOs (which is connected closely to how the security workforce is evolving) is the overall lack of talent that they are able to retain and attract.

For starters, competition is fierce. The top talent is in demand, and bidding wars are raging for their services.

Halverson is dealing with the Googles and the Amazons of the world that have the deep pockets to keep raising the ante on salaries.

“I happened to be in the [Silicon] Valley last week and Google announced that they’re raising the pay for cybersecurity by another 20 percent. That’s going to keep impacting our ability to attract talent. If you ask me about what keeps me up at night, that’s probably the answer.”

Halverson’s concern correlates to a report Gartner ran about CIO priorities for 2016. The Gartner CIO Agenda Report pools together responses from all over the globe (84 countries) to help CIOs compare priorities for strategic business, technical, and management areas. 

Talent issues were identified as the biggest concern, domestically and globally.

Think about that for a second. With as many priorities as CIOs have, they are concerned that they don’t even have the manpower to execute and achieve their objectives.

Additionally, in their State of IT report, Salesforce found that 4 out of the top 10 pain points were related to the skills gap.

It’s simple: For the DoD and other organizations that are looking to stop the bleeding of their workforce, they need to invest in new recruitment tactics and invest in their top people overall.

[Related Blog: How to Retain Your Valuable IT Employees]

Good Analytics Talent Is Hard to Find  

CIO-Analytics-Data.gifInformation management and analytics remain the clearest areas of talent deficiencies. Finding analysts that really get data, can translate the findings, and put data-driven practices into action is difficult to say the least.

A 2015 MIT Sloan Management Review revealed that “only 17% of ‘analytically challenged’ firms say they have the talent they need.”

Much of this talent needs to be cultivated at the university and collegiate level, capturing the future minds that will guide analytics for their companies down the road.

Seeing the need, universities and colleges have been ramping up their efforts to expand analytics and data science curriculums for interested students. According to IDC, there are more than 100 programs at US-based universities—a figure that will undoubtedly grow.

The key to keeping the growth rate afloat?

Students who turn into graduates need to feel confident that they are entering a viable career path. Analytics and data analysis is certainly gaining that level of credibility, but it requires financial backing for sustainability.

Burtch Works pointed out that new applications for data analysis will increase, and it will especially pick up in healthcare, finance, and transportation sectors. 

[Blog: 5 Tips to Creating a Big Data Analytics Strategy]

Innovation is Near the Top of the Priority List

An ongoing priority for CIOs remains innovation. Not just dealing with the here and now, but having an organization up to speed on future technology developments as well. 

In fact, CEOs are counting on their CIOs to be leaders of innovation in the digital space.

Besides embracing the latest and greatest technologies that also means introducing new processes and setting the pace for technology adoption.

As Gartner reported, “Compared to two years ago, the majority [of CIOs] feel that their power and influence are increasing.”

In regards to the budget, organizations are striving to emphasize investments in their overall innovation and digital transformation, as opposed to basic IT upgrades and maintenance.

For CIOs to prioritize digital transformation, outsourcing basic day-to-day IT management to third-party vendors has turned into an attractive option – especially with the multitude of price-effective as-a-service and managed service solutions that are being sold.

[Read: 5 Top Technology Trends for CIOs in 2017]

“Technology is a game-changer in the era of digital business and technology leaders need to constantly keep up-to-date with new solutions that can help their business advance,” stated Adam Dennison (SVP/Publisher for CIO Tech Poll). 


How Can You Make Your Budget Pitch to the CFO?

Even though many CIOs are making their 2017 IT budget pitch as we speak, there are many others that are in the planning phases.

How can you make a successful pitch that will elicit buy-in from the CFO?

We’ve created a guide to help you make the perfect pitch to you CFO. Collect your copy of The Art of Persuading the CFO, to get started.


Written by IBM BP Network