Top 10 things on the CIO's shopping list for 2011

Cloud computing, SAAS at top of 'to buy' list

Gartner's newest survey of more than 2,000 CIOs globally has revealed that the way most CIOs would prefer to deal with some of their most intractable problems is to let someone else do it.

Not surprisingly, CIOs are wrestling with flat budgets and increasing expectations of how much IT can increase productivity, cut costs and add new functions the company could never handle before.

At the top of their agenda for 2011 are technologies that abstract or outsource important IT functions -- including SAAS, server and desktop virtualization and cloud computing.

It's not that they don't want to keep control of their apps or data, they just need to save money by taking advantage of companies that specialize in maintaining high-performing applications and data centers rather than doing it themselves.

About three percent of companies surveyed currently have the majority of their IT assets running on cloud or SAAS platforms, but that number will increase to 43 percent during the next four years, according to the report.

Unlike past years, when delivering effective projects or cutting costs were at the top of the CIOs' agenda, the No. 1 priority is developing or managing a flexible infrastructure -- shorthand for a virtualized or cloud-based IT infrastructure that makes more efficient use of the available hardware and allows IT to shift computing resources from one part of the business to another more easily than picking up a server or storage unit and carrying it somewhere else.

The other key part of flexible infrastructures is the ability to support mobile hardware -- smartphones and tablets that connect to secure corporate applications to let employees work wherever they are and whatever device they're using.

These are the top 10 specific technologies on the CIOs' shopping list for this year, according to Gartner:

  • Cloud computing
  • Virtualisation
  • Mobile technologies
  • IT management
  • Business intelligence
  • Networking, voice and data comms
  • Enterprise applications
  • Collaboration technologies
  • Infrastructure
  • Web 2.0

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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