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Smart Enterprise: Greater Expectations

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es, it's official, according to recent research: Many IT executives have seen their jobs transformed from reactive to proactive. As a result, CIOs are starting to look at increasing investments in areas such as virtualization, software as a service (SaaS), unified communications and mobile applications to support their new focus, according to the findings of a May 2010 research report led by InformationWeek Analytics, in which more than 300 IT executives were surveyed. Indeed, the study, "Return to Growth: 2010 Global CIO Report," makes it very clear that IT executives are taking on more of a business focus. Case in point: The most common response to a question about how IT executives spend their time was "driving global technology and process standards," which was cited by 42 percent of the execu- tives. (See "Going Global," p. 34.) That's up from just 27 percent in a similar 2009 survey of CIOs conducted by InformationWeek Analytics. Other common responses also reflect a more strategic outlook. IT executives are spending time with the CEO or other senior executives discussing a strategic agenda (37%), driving initiatives to reduce spending on operations and maintenance in favor of spending for new initiatives (34%), and getting educated about emerging technologies, such as social media, programmable Web apps and wireless broadband (28%). "I spend most of my time in two areas: partnering with my colleagues on the business side to develop a strategic IT agenda that will help to drive [the] top and bottom line, [and] developing and coaching my team to develop their strategic skills," agrees Greg Meyers, VP of IT at Biogen Idec, a biotechnology firm based in Cambridge, Mass. "It's the IT executive's responsibility to help shape an agenda that has IT showing up as a value-added partner that is as interested in accomplishing the business objectives as the business is," Meyers says. "It's his or her team's responsibility to execute on these initiatives and be the most well-informed [people] on how to best to design these initiatives." Mitchel Davis, CIO at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, says he's thinking ahead by spending more time forging strong business partnerships that support the college's tactical efforts. "Most of my initiatives are related to defining unique ways to enhance existing services or create new ones by leveraging business partnerships and finding common ground for success," he says. This business tenet requires Davis to come up with systems or services ideas that business partners within the college will see as unexploited opportunities. "Then [they] work with me to build out a solution that the college can use," he says. Leveraging Data Davis isn't the only changemaker out there. In fact, nearly a third of CIOs (29%) say that their main opportunity today is using customer and business data to influence new products and services and drive growth. That statistic was only 18 percent in the 2009 survey. "IT has spent months or years building elaborate structures to capture and aggregate data, and now CIOs are feeling pressure to do something with this data," says Patrick Gray, Founder and President of the Prevoyance Group, a Charlotte, N.C., IT consulting firm. "This is going to require a sophisticated analysis of a com- pany's products, markets and competitors, as well as analytical capabilities, to produce something useful." Biogen Idec is taking advantage of its data resources, says its CIO, to help the business and its customers. "[As a company] we are inundated with data coming from clinical trials, and physi- cians and [consumers using] our products," Meyers says. "It's our goal to improve the treatment outcomes of our patients, and we really try to harness all of the data we get to better understand treatment algorithms, unmet needs of patients and to continue to drive better clinical outcomes for [everyone we work with]. The data gathered and analyzed ultimately could lead to innovative new products that improve the lives of [our customers]," he says. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), a San Francisco-based utility, is collecting much of the customer data it gathers, such as how much energy they're consuming and precisely when they're con- suming it, via new electronic "smart meters" in a bid to provide better customer service, says Patricia Lawicki, Senior VP and CIO. "We're bringing back a lot of information we never had before," she explains. And much more of it since smart readers provide constant updates on energy usage. Under the old data-collection DATA: InformationWeek Analytics, "Return to Growth: 2010 Global CIO Report," survey of 333 U.S. IT executives, May 2010 Note: Multiple responses were allowed Better Business Processes What are the primary ways your organization plans to innovate in 2010? 0% 10 20 30 40 50 Make business processes more efficient 48% Introduce new IT-led products/services for our customers 36% Lower IT costs/business costs 32% Create a new business model/revenue stream for the company 28% Get better business intelligence to more employees more quickly 20% Improve customer service 18% Enable deeper information sharing with customers, partners and suppliers 17% Improve Web operations/customer experience 17% Get better return on IT investments 15% Engage customers in new ways 14% Reduce carbon footprint and energy costs of IT environment 13% Pursue new global opportunities 12% Improve interaction with partners and suppliers 8% Transform skill set of IT organization to emphasize collaboration 4% Y )'('SMART ENTERPRISE 33

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