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CIOs Should Drive Product Innovation & Growth, Survey Says


InformationWeek recently published its third annual Global CIO Survey.  This year’s survey suggests that IT should be at the core of new products, business models and innovation strategies with an overwhelming majority of the 200+ companies surveyed acknowledging that IT is expected to drive innovation at their organization.

Like the PwC's 14th annual global CEO Survey, there are a number of common themes for global CEOs and CIOs alike.  Both CEOs and CIOs are feeling optimistic about their companies’ prospects for growth in 2011 and beyond, with 70% of CIOs anticipating a revenue increase this year.  COIs also expect growth in their IT budgets. And this is a good thing, because besides managing the information technology and computer systems that support the organization’s goals, cutting costs and improving processes, CIOs must also focus on how they can help drive growth and foster innovation.Innovation Opportunities for IT

Just as CEOs who participated in PwC’s annual study seek differentiated products and greater efficiencies across the product development landscape, CIOs taking part in the InformationWeek CIO survey list their top two priorities as:  driving new efficiencies into existing business processes (with 48% of survey respondents citing this as a top priority) and developing new products and services for customers (with over a third of survey respondents listing this as a top priority).  But when pressed to name just one priority, CIOs said they would focus on products. 

To bolster innovation initiatives, nearly 70% of the CEOs surveyed in PwC’s annual global CEO survey aim to invest in technology to help them become more efficient and to enable them to capitalize on new growth opportunities.  

As CIOs and IT shift more of their time and focus to product innovation, they will need every advantage in order to execute at the pace required to meet management and business goals. The top concern cited by CIOs in the InformationWeek survey was the ability to execute fast enough.

To start, CIOs identified three areas of opportunity:

  1. Use Customer and Business Data to Influence New Products/Services and Drive Growth.
  2. Drive Company-Wide Process Innovation.
  3. Increase Employee Productivity via Collaboration Tools

Innovation software with integrated problem-solving and collaboration tools and semantic research capabilities can help CIOs drive new efficiencies throughout product development processes and fuel product and process innovation.