CIOs reveal their priorities


Gartner’s latest annual CIO Agenda survey of more than 3,000 CIOs in 98 countries found that 95 per cent of CIOs expect digitalization to change their jobs. IT delivery is seen as a given, with the two-key transformation in the role being change leadership and the assumption of greater and broader responsibilities.

Growth is the priority

The number-one priority – reported by 26 per cent of CIOs – is growth. The upside of digitalization is that it enables new products and services. This means new ways to generate revenue, new ways to deliver business value and new ways to engage with customers and stakeholders.

The key challenges, according to Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst Andy Rowsell-Jones, are scaling up from digital experiments, and ensuring that organizations have the right culture to make the required changes a success.

“A wall exists between those early digital experiments and pilots, and those that have achieved digital scale… [CIOs] must recognize existing cultural strengths and position cultural change as ‘the next chapter,’ rather than a massive overhaul,” he noted.

Looking beyond IT

Some 84 per cent of CIOs now have responsibilities beyond traditional IT – typically for innovation and transformation. Accompanying this is a shift in accountabilities to take encompass business outcomes as well as IT delivery (the ideal split between these two is 56 percent business, 44 per cent IT).

As these responsibilities expand, business intelligence and analytics have become the most important technologies for differentiating a business from its competition.

“Data and insight drive the creation, delivery and life cycle of digital products and services,” said Rowsell-Jones. “Analytics connect the CIO and the IT organization to far-flung parts of the organization where they can cultivate new relationships.”

To make these changes happen, 71 per cent of top-performing CIOs favor a separate digital team, usually reporting directly to the CIO.

Key trends: security and AI

Digital security ranked high on the CIO agenda, with 95 per cent expecting cybersecurity threats to expand and to threaten their organizations. 35 per cent say they’ve already invested in digital security and 36 per cent saying they are planning such an investment.

AI is the other key trend CIOs expect to impact their organizations, and it was ranked the most problematic to implement, followed by digital security and the Internet of Things (IoT). The factor common to all three is that each requires new skills which are hard to find in the employment marketplace.

It’s a time of great change for CIOs and the overall message is clear: if they want to survive and thrive, things must change: their roles, their teams’ roles, their company culture and more. It’s a challenge, but one all CIOs should be confident in meeting.


The Server OS – Does it matter?

Server OS
Do operating systems even matter anymore? Despite the fact that most servers can be configured to provide adequate performance with most mainstream operating systems (OSes), the answer is… yes. When you want to lift performance beyond ‘adequate’ and deliver superior performance that will provide better service and improved customer satisfaction, it’s important to consider impact that various hardware capabilities and configurations can have on different operating systems.

How many operating systems will you be running?

The first, and most obvious, question to be answered is just how many operating systems will be running on your hardware.

If you’re just hosting a single instance of an operating system (an increasingly rare circumstance), then the hardware specifications can be tailored to the requirements of the OS and the application(s) it’s running. In practical terms, it means that the maximum memory can be limited to the amount required by the software, and the storage architecture can be tailored to meet its (or their) requirements. That’s not necessarily the case when a server will be hosting a hypervisor and multiple instances of an operating system.

Linux or Windows?

It’s possible this won’t be a question you have to answer because your application choice will pull the operating system behind it. In that case, your choices come down to the hardware specifications that will meet the OS’s needs. Most servers run a version of Linux or Windows and as a rule of thumb, Windows servers will need more resources than Linux servers.

Linux’s configurability gives it an advantage over Windows for dedicated application hosting, as functions and applications that are not required can be removed by an administrator. This reduces the storage and processing load on the server. You can even get a jump on a process by choosing the Linux distribution that most closely matches application requirements before any modifications are made.

Yet despite Windows servers’ heavier resource requirements, there are plenty of reasons why it might be your server OS of choice, including app selection, developer support, technical support and more. Just be aware that you’ll need to carefully configure your hardware to ensure it meets – or exceeds – the memory, storage and compute requirements dictated by your software configuration and intended use.

The relative impacts of Windows and Linux on servers spill over to the virtual machine realm too. It’s a similar story: before any applications enter the picture, Windows will require more compute and storage resources than Linux. Linux’s smaller storage footprint gives administrators greater scope for boosting performance by specifying solid-state rather than disc storage, and its RAM requirements lower too. But again, these more modest hardware requirements aren’t the full story and you’ll need to evaluate and build with your specific requirements in mind.


Get your IT ready for the Holidays

Everybody needs a break. After working hard in your business it’s great to take a holiday, but all that good cheer and relaxation will go out the window in a moment if your business suffers an IT disaster while you’re away.

Here’s a short checklist that we suggest you follow to help you avoid a holiday-wrecking business catastrophe:

  1. Check your firewall is up-to-date (software and firmware)
  2. Check your server is up-to-date (latest patches)
  3. Update all security software on servers and PCs
  4. Run a full back up and make sure a copy is offsite
  5. Test that your backups work (i.e. run a trial restore to make sure everything comes back)
  6. Ensure all on-going services are all paid for and will not expire over the holidays


This last suggestion can avoid a problem that catches out too many people. If your DNS records expire over the holiday period (or your software subscriptions, internet connections, service contracts etc.) it can be a hard task to find the right details and the right contacts to get it sorted out from an empty office.

You certainly don’t want to spend your holidays worrying about your IT systems back in the office, or your skeleton crew not being able to provide services to your clients, while you should be relaxing and recuperating.

So, get it set up, forward your phones to the after-hours service and have a great break whenever and wherever you can get away. Stay safe on the roads and in the water and we will look forward to doing business with you next year.