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IT strategic priorities 2012: BI for innovation gains new prominence

A growing number of data management professionals are looking at innovative ways to use data to enhance corporate performance, according to three surveys about IT strategic priorities in 2012.

The Corporate IT Forum’s annual survey of IT strategies for 2012, conducted in October and early November 2011 among 692 IT professionals, found a 10.7% rise in the number of respondents putting a business intelligence or management information strategy in place for 2012, over the 45.8% who already have a strategy in place.

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Ollie Ross, head of research at the forum said, “It is perhaps more interesting to put this into the context of a swell of corporate determination to do new things, frequently with what they already have or know, and to do things more effectively and efficiently. Hence BI/MI [Business Intelligence/Management Information] strategies share priority with aligning business and IT architectures, simplifying and improving processes, managing and improving the quality of data and information and collaboration across and between businesses, their partners and suppliers.”

Respondents are showing a “determination” to be innovative, Ross said. As for a new recession, they seemed “either prepared for that or looking to the opportunities of any new economic turbulence,” she said. “Being innovative was a constant that ran through the responses.”

Survey respondents, in the free text comment fields, highlighted the business need to “get value out of data,” enhance “findability” and integrate data in legacy systems with “structured and unstructured, internal and external” data.

Ross said: “The drive to deliver business value through the use of analytics and modelling crops up frequently as a priority, so there are multiple mentions of improving usability and capability of MI and BI and the introduction of new, innovative BI technologies and competency centres, and the refresh of BI platforms.”

The survey also suggested, she continued, “that there was a fit between the increasing corporate uptake of cloud offerings [and] business requirements both for BI and [a more general corporate] IT enthusiasm for exploring the new. Hence member comments such as “our focus for 2012 will be on developing opportunities around our cloud-based BI delivery and services.”

“But the hard lessons well learned over the past few years are also clearly in evidence, with a widespread aim of “running IT like a business.” A key component of that is the quality and “consistency of management information for executive decision support,” Ross added.

The TechTarget IT Priorities Survey for 2012, disclosed that its UK respondents are placing a high (40.9%) or medium (54.4%) priority on corporate performance management (CPM).

The online survey, which ranged across the whole gamut of corporate IT matters with IT managers, was conducted in November and December 2011. There were 225 respondents from the UK, out of more than 2,000 respondents worldwide.

Other data management categories showed similarly robust results for CPM. Business intelligence, analytics and data warehousing attracted a high priority of 35.8% and a medium of 56.6%.

Enterprise content management was a high priority for a lower group of respondents (22.2%), but a medium priority for a respectable 63.9%. Business process management was a high priority for 37%, medium for 56.5%.

However, the much hyped arena of mobile corporate data was a high priority for only 11.1%.

The idea that information management is gaining in significance across the arena of IT strategy was also borne out in a Corporate Executive Board study carried out mid-year. The IT Budget Benchmarking Survey, available through the ComputerWeekly.com Research Library, found that information management projects accounted for more of the IT project budget than process automation and expected this shift to speed up in 2012.

However, the organisation also opined that with further “economic uncertainty looming, 2012 opex [operating expenditure] budgets are expected to grow by a modest 2.9%”. They added that “capex [capital expenditure] will grow by 5.1% in North America but shrink by 14.2% in Europe in 2012”.

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