The IT management landscape is changing.
The old concerns remain, but they have been joined by new issues as businesses grapple with higher bandwidth requirements, more complex IT infrastructures, and emerging technologies.
According to ZDNet Asia's IT Priorities 2007/08 survey findings, IT management issues are generally more important than technical ones, and software is generally viewed as more important than hardware which is becoming increasingly commoditized.
Conducted online in July 2007, the survey polled 2,396 IT decision makers and influencers across the Asia-Pacific region. Respondents were asked about their IT budgets, current and future IT priorities, and trends that most affect their IT planning.
The concerns are generally the same across the board, regardless of the industry or size of the organization. Slightly more than half of the respondents worked in small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), which are defined as having fewer than 500 employees.
The most common IT priorities, now and in the next 12 months, have to do with IT management. Comprising 13.9 percent of all responses (respondents could mention up to three separate priorities), these include issues like IT governance, project management, operations, and productivity. General management issues like cost savings and budgeting are also very important, comprising 7.7 percent of responses. Staffing and workplace issues comprise a further 5.3 percent of responses.
Application software, the lifeblood of any IT operation, rank among the top five priorities. Respondents are concerned with implementation, management and migration issues. Business applications rank higher in priority than personal applications, although many organizations are also grappling with collaboration and content management issues.
Hardware issues are spread across general areas such as data centers, and specifics like PCs, servers and peripherals. Of these, peripherals, components and storage are most important, indicating that many organizations are grappling with new device types and storage issues.
[? template("/zd/insight/specialreports/itpriorities/07/templates/chart_listing.htm"); ?] Security remains a major concern for most businesses, including issues related to disaster recovery planning, backup, and system reliability and uptime.
Networking issues are also important, but less so than IT management, software and security. About 10 percent of all responses indicated priorities that relate to networking, although these were divided between technologies like LANs (local area networks), WANs (wide area networks), and VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol).
It is significant that management issues rate so highly, and suggests that the pace of business change is at least as important as the pace of technological change. IT management has never been an easy job, and the range of issues that a CIO must deal with multiplies every year.
Graeme Philipson is an independent IT writer and analyst. He was commissioned by ZDNet Asia to compile and analyze the results of ZDNet Asia's IT Priorities 2007/08 Survey.