Too many CXO cooks spoiling the IT soup

Some 72 percent of CIOs in Asia-Pacific feel weighed down by having to deal with more stakeholders who want their say in how IT budgets are spent, reveals a Microsoft survey.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

For some companies in Asia-Pacific, it appears too many high-level cooks are spoiling the IT soup and posing a headache for CIOs. 

Some 72 percent of IT heads in the region said their decision-making process has been slowed down due to greater involvement and influence of more stakeholders within the organization, who want a say in how IT budgets are spent. This has become one of the top three obstacles and "point of friction" in the adoption of new technology, said Alvaro Celis, Microsoft's Asia-Pacific vice president, during a media briefing Tuesday to discuss the findings of a survey conducted by the IT vendor. The study polled 291 IT decision makers from 10 countries in the region, including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Australia. 

For these CIOs, the most influential stakeholders within the company was the CEO, with 60 percent of IT heads pointing to this executive as their most important peer in driving new technology trends, followed by the CFO (57 percent), COO (55 percent), and CMO (38 percent).

The biggest barrier for CIOs, though, was the lack of funds to invest in disruptive technologies, where 81 percent of respondents cited this as their main obstacle, while 79 percent pointed to concerns related to security, privacy, compliance, and transparency.

According to the survey, the top four most disruptive technology trends singled out by the CIOs were mobility (52 percent), Internet of Things (44 percent), big data (41 percent), and social media (38 percent). Such emerging technology trends are commanding a significant portion of IT budgets across the region. Some 27 percent of CIOs said they were spending more than 30 percent of their budget in this technology segment, while 53 percent said they had allocated between 10 and 30 percent of their IT budget. 

The good news was that 62 percent of respondents said their company's IT spending on new technologies was expected to climb next year. Some 71 percent named cloud services as their main priority over the next three years, while 65 percent pointed to mobility, and 61 percent cited big data. 

Noting that cloud is no longer viewed as a disruptive technology, and is now an expected "normal" part of any company's IT strategy, Celis said: "It is fascinating to see how cloud is everywhere today, and where mobility, IoT (Internet of Things), social, and big data are important technology disruptors for years to come. CIOs are indeed moving beyond keeping the lights on in IT to driving growth and business innovation."

No surprises then that Microsoft is increasing its focus on cloud. During the briefing, the IT vendor's executive vice president for cloud and enterprise Scott Guthrie championed the company's latest launches and progress in the technology space, including the Azure Marketplace, which was went live earlier today as well as its new partnership with Singapore telco, SingTel. 

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