Chief Information Officers (CIOs) expect IT budgets to increase by 2.5 percent in 2005, and believe their focus will be on supporting business growth and results, according to a survey by Gartner Executive Programs (EXP), a unit of Gartner Inc. In the past few years, CIOs have had to focus on internal efficiency and cost control, while preparing their organization for an economic upswing. CIOs also voiced concerns about their relationship with the CEO and whether they have the right people to meet current and future business needs.

Gartner EXP surveyed more than 1,300 CIOs representing more than $57 billion in IT spending, covering more than 30 countries. Industry sectors include manufacturing 21 percent, financial services 19 percent, public sector 18 percent, consumer products and services 9 percent, professional services 7 percent, high tech and communications 5 percent, utilities and chemicals 7 percent, healthcare and pharmaceuticals 4 percent, education 4 percent and other 4 percent.

"Business expectations are now forcing CIOs to transform the IS organization and 2005 is the year where CIOs must deliver more value and become a contributor rather than a commodity," said Mark McDonald, group vice president for Gartner EXP. "They must do this without large up-front investments and CIOs are turning to business processes and business intelligence to meet this challenge."

Gartner said contributing to business growth starts by providing secure, high quality and cost effective IT services. This is mandatory and a baseline for IT's credibility. It is reflected in the top technology priorities for 2005, where security features at the top of the list.

Table 1 - Top 10 Business and Technologies Priorities in 2005

Top 10 Business PrioritiesOverall RankingTop 10 Technology PrioritiesOverall Ranking
Business Process Improvement1Security enhancement tools1
Security breaches and disruptions2Business Intelligence applications2
Enterprisewide operating costs3Mobile workforce enablement3
Supporting competitive advantage4Workflow management deployment and integration4
Data protection and privacy5Enterprise resource planning (ERP) upgrades5
The need for revenue growth6Storage Management6
Using intelligence in products and services7Voice and data integration over IP7
Focus on internal controls8Customer relationship management (CRM)8
Shortage of business skills9Business process integration tools9
Faster innovation and cycle