ibm_logo_2010.jpg With some research, you get the sense that, in some way, the conclusions are loaded in favor of the company that sponsored the research. With IBM’s (news, site) recent Essential CIO study, which identifies a massive move to the cloud in the next five years, the conclusions are so wide and favor so many different companies that you have to conclude that Big Blue has tapped into some very interesting trends around the position of CIO.

While there is a lot for everyone here, for business decision makers -- especially those involved in financial decision making -- the conclusions around cloud computing will be of particular interest, given the savings that are predicted by making the move.

The research, which was carried out from October 2010 to January 2011, involved 3,000 face-to-face interviews in 71 countries, and show that between this study and a similar study from the previous year, the number of CIOs that intend to move to the cloud within the next five years has doubled.

CIOs, Cloud Computing

In fact, in all, 60% of organizations say they are ready to embrace cloud computing. A note of caution should be sounded here -- while 60% say they have embraced the concept, in a previous examination of cloud computing and enterprise content management, we found that they may like the idea, but their IT infrastructure is not ready for it yet.

This probably explains the five-year overview in this report, which also shows that the use of cloud deployments has changed from being used to support deployments inside enterprises, to deployments that can be used between organizations, their partners and customers.

A more detailed breakdown of the figures shows just how quickly the idea of cloud computing is catching on.

The 2009 study showed that only a third of CIOs planned for cloud deployments, which has now risen to an average of 60% across the board, but to 73% in media and entertainment industries, 70% in automotive, and 69% in telecommunications.

Even geographically, the figures throw up some interesting facts. In China, for example, 68% of CIOs identify cloud computing as a top priority, while in the US, Japan and South Korea, the figure now stands at 70%, up from around a third previously.

Business Intelligence, Mobility

Digging even deeper, you see where, or at what, CIOs are specifically looking in terms of applications, from the cloud.

Business intelligence applications is, by far, the biggest priority at the moment, with 83% saying BI and analytics is their top priority, probably as much a reflection of low-uptake of these applications to date as much as it is a reflection of their availability and perceived business value.

Mobile computing also figures significantly, a result of enhanced functionality and better devices enabling more workers to spend more time away from the desk, with mobility seen by 74% of CIOs as a game changer for their business, up from 68% in 2009.

Other trends identified in the report include:

  • Petroleum, consumer products and healthcare industries show the biggest demand for analytics and business intelligence, where 91%, 89% and 86% of CIOs, respectively, are looking to them to improve business performance.
  • Geographically, South America and Canada see BI and analytics as their principal, competitive differentiator.
  • Mobility was most important in the travel (91%) industries, media and entertainment (86%), and utilities (82%).
  • Unsurprisingly, risk management is the principal concern of financial and banking industries, where 80% say they are focusing their attention on that.

CIO Focus Areas

There are other gems that are worth noting, too. Simplification is one of the driving issues for CIOs at the moment, with 80% saying they intend to lead projects with this as its focus in the future.


This corresponds with another finding which shows that their principal areas of activity at the moment is building relationships with customers, developing employee’s skills and --  back to analytics again -- gaining insight and business intelligence from data.

Big data analysis is also a part of this, with many looking for tools that can extract useable intelligence from big data sets. The tools range from master data management (68%) to client analytics (66%), data warehousing and visual dashboards (64%) and search capabilities (59%).

There is a lot more in this 76-page report, largely to do with what and how CIOs are doing at the moment, but it also gives some significant insight into what is going on in the enterprise and priorities in the coming years. If you want to take a look, you can download it here after registration.