Whether it is a new project just starting or one that has been years in the making or one that has yet to be decided, CIOs everywhere have some tough issues to grapple with. VAR Business found the following five were top on the minds of most CIOs.
The top five should not be news to anyone who follows the trends in our business but here they are:
1. Security - no surprise here. There have been major security breaches in almost every industry vertical over the past year. Now that we are in the era of global, self-replicating viruses, enterprises have invested big bucks in perimeter and internal security technologies yet this issue remains high on every CIOs nightmare list. Fortunately many companies like Cisco Systems, Check Point Software, MacAfee, Microsoft and Symantec all offer complementary products that provide pretty comprehensive coverage. Unfortunately none of these vendors offer one-stop shopping though.
What the CIOs surveyed want is simplified security or a unified threat management system (new acronym alert -- UTM). Unfortunately according to the article, these "holistic security systems" do not exist today. This lack of fully integrated security systems means that enterprises still must buy and integrate best-of-breed point solutions.
Vendors take note -- the global security market is projected to grow from $20 billion this year to more than $45 billion by 2008!
2. Service-oriented architectures (SOAs) - Gartner has predicted that by 2008, most application software revenue will come from products built using a SOA. If you aren't familiar with SOA, it basically pus all of an enterprise's applications on an equal footing to they can share middleware and data more effectively through standard protocols like Web services. Vendors such as IBM, BEA and Oracle are ramping up their SOA offerings big time. If predictions are correct (big if), it is thought that SOA will ultimately affect every business and IT department.
3. Outsourcing - again this should not be a surprise to anyone paying attention to what is happening in the IT world. Outsourcing has been the good news/bad news headline for a lot of companies this year. An interesting story from the VAR Business article is what's happening at General Motors. Many of us remember 10 years ago when GM announced that it was outsourcing its IT support to its (former) subsidiary -- EDS. Well, that contract expires next June. GM will have to choose between renewing its contract, giving the work to one or more outsourcer, or bringing IT back in-house (doubtful). No one at GM is talking... but there are indications that GM may be looking at option 2 -- one or more new outsourcers. With an IT budget of $3 billion, you can bet a lot of wooing is going on there.
4. Storage - BI is undergoing a paradigm shift in terms of the volumes of data stored and analyzed. With a growing need for more and more data, storage (and backup by the way) of that data is becoming a major concern of CIOs. Companies are looking for ways to consolidate the numbers of servers, files, tape drives, etc., they sue for storage and backup. Then there is the question of where to store all those backups. Hurricane Katrina taught us all a valuable lesson about off-site storage.
5. Regulatory compliance - You knew I had to mention this one. You cannot pick up a magazine, read a newsletter, or surf a vendor's web site without running into something about compliance. Storage of data is not just for BI; enterprises in all industries must store ever-increasing amounts of data and the various regulatory requirements force companies to store and maintain that data for years. Compliance is changing the very essence of many corporations. They are now far more motivated to bring in risk management, security and corporate governance functions and applications than ever before in IT history. Gartner again predicts that 60% of US firms with less that $5 billion in assets will have aligned their corporate risk management to regulatory requirements. AMR Research weighs in with a prediction that enterprises will spend an astounding $80 billion on compliance technologies and services in the next 3 years.
Fortunately these companies are also focusing on the other critical part of compliance -- instituting the proper processes for dealing with compliance. It ain't all technology, folks...
Well, there you have what keeps CIOs up at night. I hope the vendors, service providers and employees of these beleaguered folks can help them get a good night's sleep soon!
Yours in BI success,