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Gartner: Clouds, Virtualization Help Pay for IT Projects

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A new survey of some 2,000 CIOs by analysis giant Gartner found that, although budgets are not growing yet as the recession recedes, they are looking hard at technologies such as cloud computing and virtualization to reduce IT costs and help to drive revenue growth.

Titled “Reimagining IT: The 2011 CIO Agenda,” Gartner’s survey sampled 2,014 CIOs who are in sum responsible for IT spending of $160 billion in 50 countries and 38 industries.

“The resource realities indicated in the 2011 CIO Agenda Survey raise the urgency and importance of adopting new infrastructure and operations technologies, such as cloud services and virtualization,” Mark McDonald, head of research for Gartner Executive Programs, said in a statement.

“New lighter-weight technologies — such as cloud computing, software as a service (SaaS), and social networks — and IT models, enable the CIO to redefine IT, giving it a greater focus on growth and strategic impact,” he added.

For instance, even though the impact of cloud computing has been relatively small so far, many CIOs expect that to change rapidly in the next few years.

“Currently, 3 percent of CIOs have the majority of IT running in the cloud or on SaaS technologies, but over the next four years CIOs expect this number to increase to 43 percent,” the statement said.

Gartner conducted the survey between September and December. The company has conducted the CIO Agenda survey annually since 2000.

With so much current interest in the rapidly expanding use of mobile devices, it’s not too surprising that mobile came in as third on CIOs’ list of technology priorities for 2011.

As CIOs use these technologies to help drive down costs, the money they save often gets plowed back into projects aimed at making their companies more competitive. Part of that includes being able to afford additional headcount.

“The pattern seems to be that, as they diversify their infrastructure, they [CIOs] are taking those savings and putting them into hiring analysts, application developers, and mobile development professionals,” McDonald told

Additionally, savings from IT budgets can help CIOs finally fund projects that have been on the “to do” list but had never garnered funding until now.

“One company was able to save 35 percent of its operations and infrastructure budget, and use the funds to pay for an application they’d always planned,” McDonald added.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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