CIO priorities are different around the world, but the cloud is one consistent factor

Gartner's CIO survey shows some differences in the way IT managers around the world work, but there are consistencies too and the importance of the cloud is one.
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor on

China is focused on growth and has bigger budgets to drive it. For North America, the big danger is complacency, while in Latin America they are confident that they have the right strategies in place. In the UK and Ireland, our focuses for growth are outsourcing and the cloud.

These are some of the differences thrown up by the latest Gartner survey of CIOs, which shows that while there are many different approaches taken to IT, there are also similarities. One is a lack of growth for IT budgets, with Gartner pointing out that there was 0.2 percent growth from 2013 through the first quarter of this year but a region-by-region analysis shows wide deviations from that.

According to the survey, CIOs in Latin America are looking at an average budget increase of 7.3 percent this year while China is expecting growth of 13 percent. These high growth figures are off-set by much lower figures from growth for the US, the UK, and Europe.

According to Gartner vice president Dave Aron, the way businesses and public-sector agencies use information and digital technologies is getting more entwined with their economic, regulatory and competitive contexts, as well as with the state of their business and "digital maturity".

This greater complexity is a direct result of the way in which "every process, every employee, every business leader, every customer, every interaction, every moment" is expected to interact, he says.

But in one area at least, the UK and Ireland experience is more or less the same as everybody else's — and that area is the cloud. Some 28 percent of UK and Ireland businesses say they have made significant investments in cloud computing and that compares to 25 percent of Europe as a whole.

And as Aron says, that is the same for everyone. "That percentage figure of around the 25 percent mark is consistent around the world with some, like the UK and the Far East, a little higher but all are around that mark."

Most of IT on the cloud by end of 2024

The most significant factor, according to Aron, is that the growth in cloud computing has been entirely predictable. "It is currently around 25 percent but we knew it would be," he says, "and it will be 50 percent by the end of 2018 and then around 75 percent by 2024. We have been saying that this is how the cloud will grow and that is exactly what is happening around the world."

Some 65 percent of CIO respondents in the UK and Ireland expect to increase their outsourcing of IT in the near future. The desire to cut costs is traditionally one of the primary reasons behind this but CIOs also claim a desire to achieve agility as well through partnerships with external service providers as a prime reason.

"With 78 per cent of CIOs expecting to change their sourcing approach in the next two to three years, a new set of capabilities will be required," Aron says. "CIOs must be able to partner with a broader range of IT suppliers, not only the big vendors, and move beyond IT contracts that constrain their ability to innovate and adapt in response to changing business expectations." Gartner's global IT survey covers 2,339 businesses around the world.

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