CIOs in 2011: The IT roles and strategies in high demand

CIOs have finally emerged from the dark days of budget-slashing, cost-cutting and headcount-reducing. The metaphorical knives, axes and saws can all be put away.

A recent Forrester Research survey of 140 IT decision-makers found that the demand for “cost reduction” related IT roles and strategies have ebbed: 58 percent of respondents stated that reducing costs has decreased.

“Most IT leaders have been aggressively reducing costs over the past few years and already have the expertise in-house to continue this,” writes Forrester analyst Marc Cecere, in a new report: “What’s Driving Demand for Key IT Roles?”

For CIOs and their IT shops, now is the time to execute and deliver.

When asked what was the primary driver behind increased demand at their company, here’s how the respondents’ answers broke down: 26 percent–improve execution of products and services; 22 percent–more consistent processes and services; 20 percent–business growth; and 17 percent–build new capabilities for processes and technologies.

“This was no surprise,” writes Cecere, “as the need to improve IT process execution is at the top of most CIOs’ priority lists.”

This growth in demand for execution, consistency and business growth will affect several key roles inside today’s IT shops. According to the Forrester survey:

* Improved execution affects portfolio management and project management roles. Respondents reported “execution” as the primary driver for increased growth in project management (44 percent) and portfolio management (36 percent) roles. Cecere writes: “Improved execution drives the need for stronger project managers and a portfolio management function that can allocate resources effectively while killing off bad ideas quickly.”
* Increased consistency drives demand for service management and process design roles. “One in three reported that increasing the consistency of processes and services was the primary driver for increased demand of service management and process design roles,” states the report. “To build more consistent processes, you need people who understand how services are designed, sourced and executed, as well as highly specialized people to design the processes that enable these services.”
* Business growth increases demand for client-relationship management roles. Cecere notes that business growth necessitated a strong need for client-relationship management roles among the respondents (36 percent). Following that were strategy/planning and data experts, at approximately one in four. “Supporting business growth requires people who specialize in managing the relationship with business leaders,” he adds, “as well as people with expertise in strategy, data and business analysis.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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