The Society for Information Management (SIM), was founded in 1969 and has been highly regarded as the premier network for IT leadership. SIM is a community of thought leaders who share experiences and rich intellectual capital, and who explore future IT direction. (www.simnet.org)

The SIM survey was filled out by 1213 SIM members, which included 490 Chief Information Officers (CIO) and represented 801 organizations overall. 13.4% were Financial Services, 11.5% were Health/Medical, 9.4% were manufacturing, 6.5% were Education, and 5.6% were IT Services/Consulting. 95.3% of these organizations were based in the United States, with an average revenue of $4.75 Billion, average IT spending of $86.6 million, making their IT spending an average of 5.04% of their revenue average.

It was found that 41.7% of the organizations stated Alignment of IT with the business as their most important IT management issue. This was closely followed by Security/Cybersecurity/Privacy at 36%, innovation at 23.2%, Agility/Flexibility of IT at 20.6%, and Agility/Flexibility of business at 19.9%. These five factors represent a large portion of general concerns for many organizations in today’s modern market.

Alignment of IT with Business
In today’s market, information technology plays an irreplaceable role in an organization. Everything from time management, staff management, financial management, inventory management, data storage, data analysis, etc. It is crucial to have IT running hand-in-hand with your business operations, otherwise your productivity, efficiency, and integrity can suffer. To improve the alignment of IT with your business, the organization will need to expand its agility by increasing the rate at which it responds to change, and doing so with refined, educated judgement.

Security/Cybersecurity/Privacy
Security is a growing issue, especially with the increased popularity of outsourcing and CLOUD computing. An organization’s data is essentially the blood that runs through its veins to keep it alive, so protecting that data is crucial to the continued success of the organization. Proper security measures can help a modern organization protect not only their brand, but also their revenue. This can be done by assessing threats to the organization’s IT infrastructure and determining the company’s tolerance to those risks. As organizations become more and more reliant on IT, the threat of IT disasters become more and more of a risk. This is where risk management and disaster recovery comes into play. Whether your IT is outsourced or insourced (in-house), a suitable IT risk analysis and disaster management should be ongoing and well informed.

Innovation
Proper Innovation, or Startup Management can be an important key to your organizations ambidexterity and help you gain a leading edge within your market. Many organizations prefer to take a slower/safer approach to introducing new technologies into their business operations. Leveraging new endeavors can be an issue within any organization, but setting innovation goals and creating a strategic plan on how to meet these goals will help your organization take safer and more measured steps toward your innovation goals.

Agility/Flexibility in IT & Business
If your organization has issues with agility or flexibility, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Many organizations were built with a particular idea in the mind of their creator, and as they grow they encounter new situations, business needs, growth, and other issues that weren’t originally considered. The CIO’s job within an organization is to essentially take the organizations strategic vision and transform that vision into a functional or operational reality. This can be done by attaining business value from the organization’s infrastructure and applications. Generally a service oriented architecture approach is taken that allows the organization’s processes to be adapted, and enables automation of these processes to increase productivity and efficiency.

Closure
With such a large majority of organizations being represented by SIM’s members on this survey, I think it is safe to say that the results of this survey relate to the concerns of the majority of organizations in today’s business market. IT and business alignment is crucial to a modern organization’s success and ability to maintain their place in this competitive market. Businesses are under a lot of pressure to innovate, upgrade, and be the most efficient, and this is done by cohesive and measured IT management. Planning IT implementation takes time and money, but will put your organization in a competitive stance. Steve Ballmer of Microsoft once said, “The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.”, and I feel as though the same that is said for people in that quote goes for businesses as well.