by Maryfran Johnson

CIOs Recharged and Ready for 2011

Jan 01, 2011
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Happily, our 2011 State of the CIO research reveals that this coming year will be all about enhancing productivity, investing strategically and fueling growth.

With the business lessons of the recession still resonating in CIOs’ minds, you might expect to find IT leaders hunkering down in 2011.

You might expect more of your colleagues to be cost-cutting and business-aligning. Scrambling, in other words, to show how much value IT brings to the organization.

Thankfully, you’d be wrong.

As our 2011 State of the CIO research and cover story (“2011 State of the CIO: IT Departments Are Fueling Company Growth Through Strategic Technology Investments”) reveals, this coming year will, happily, be all about enhancing productivity, investing strategically and fueling growth.

“What we are focused on is which customers bring the most value to our company versus getting more customers,” notes CIO Joel Schwalbe of CNL Financial Group. “That’s a different perspective.”

Different indeed. Business renewal is under way with a vengeance, according to the 729 IT chiefs we surveyed for this annual check on the state of your minds, your businesses and your careers. Our story spotlights three definitive trends we saw emerging from the data, as greater numbers of you use IT to:

Improve workforce productivity in ways that make ­collaboration easy and spark faster innovation.

Drive significant improvements in ­product quality and business processes.

Ramp up IT security and risk management as cloud computing, mobile devices and social media change the way everyone works.

“The power is in a unified approach. The less you see IT by itself, the more successful we’re being,” CIO Wayne Shurts of Supervalu wisely points out. Anticipating business shifts and moving swiftly to deliver the best tools to capitalize on them are skills that loom large in the futures of successful CIOs, many of you told us. And speaking of anticipating needs, we’ve done a bit of that ourselves.

This issue marks the debut of two new regular features designed to enrich your leadership perspectives. The first is “World View,” a print-only feature that showcases a selection of fresh ideas and smart moves from CIOs around the globe. The second is “Consumer Demand,” which highlights how mobile and social technologies affect business growth and customer relationships.

Happy New Year!

Maryfran Johnson is the editor in chief of CIO Magazine & Events. E-mail her at