The economy is causing us to reexamine our priorities. CIOs have a pretty extensive list of \n\ncritical issues to manage, and while they have been shuffled around a bit, it seems that \n\nthey are falling into four buckets.\n\nGlobalization: No matter how bad business gets, "the world is flat" and CIOs are focused on \n\nmaking their global operations run more smoothly. The ability to connect, communicate and \n\ncollaborate across the globe in a seamless manner is no less a priority now than it was 60 \n\nor 90 days ago. Customers and suppliers all want to work with you in a real-time environment \n\non a global basis.\n\nTransformation: Automating business processes, digitization, sustainability, imaging and \n\ne-discovery are just a few examples of business initiatives that are gaining the attention \n\nof the CIO as further cost efficiencies are required. No matter what the economic condition, \n\nthese initiatives will require your attention in the year ahead.\n\nIT modernization: As Baby Boomers begin to retire (hopefully they still can) and companies \n\ncontemplate further standardization, the theme of IT modernization is coming up more and \n\nmore. Gartner recently \n\nstated that this is a top priority because IT systems and services lack the agility to \n\nrespond to business requests for change. Increasing integration among portfolios, growing \n\nobsolescence of deployed assets and a skills crisis throw fuel on the fire. I can see why \n\nthis is hitting your list.\n\nInnovation and risk mitigation: Businesses that have the ability to balance these two \n\npriorities during a difficult economic climate are going to be the ones that will rise to \n\nthe top when the dust settles. In a recent column by CIO Editor in \n\nChief Abbie Lundberg, Dave Olverson, director of IT and blogger of TechyPundit.com, states, "No risk means no \n\ninnovation. The trick is to embrace the risk and actively manage it because not doing so \n\nmeans stagnation." At the same time, one must make sure that the proper amount of risk is \n\nbeing taken and measured to hopefully ensure some level of success. Finding the right \n\nbalance between these two takes a bit of art and science.\n\nI am sure that your list is much longer than this, but if you are able to make headway on \n\nthese four big issues in the next 12 months, you will have had a very successful year.