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CIOs Line Up Top Issues in '06

By Clint Boulton

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Leveraging IT to help grow their company's business tops the agenda for Chief Information Officers, according to a survey of some 1,400 CIOs just released by Gartner.

The study included CIOs from more than 30 countries worldwide.

While such core issues as security and cost controls remain a concern for CIOs, the Gartner study revealed that making their businesses easier for customers to deal with by improving business processes is a top business priority for the second consecutive year. Controlling enterprise operating costs and security technologies ranked second among the CIO's ranking of top 10 business and top 10 technology priorities respectively.

"The interesting point is to note how technology issues go through a cycle where it's assumed to be part of the core technology, Mark McDonald, group vice president and head of research for Gartner's Executive Programmes unit told internetnews.com. "Security has gone through that cycle faster than anything else we've seen. Companies expect their CIO to keep operations secure and spending on security is still healthy."

The Gartner study indicates CIOs see themselves facing three critical challenges in the year ahead:

Strengthening the information value chain.

Building IT business skills.

Getting closer to customers.

Perhaps indicative of a certain healthy paranoia, two-thirds of CIOs believe their competitors make better use of information. The CIOs surveyed see a need to make their communication and collaboration more dynamic, based on ongoing business needs rather than on annual planning cycles. Seven out of 10 survey respondents said they need to build new business skills in IT focused on delivering business results.

Gartner said major goal for CIOs in 2006 must be to change the conversation between IT and the business from one based on "what IT can do for me" to "how will we solve the problem together."

This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.