The price of popularity

CIOs have never been more popular. And it isn't just their charm and winning smile that has them in high demand on a wide range of fronts, it's unprecedented demand for new applications. According to the 2006 State of the CIO Survey, conducted by our sister publication CIO magazine, IT departments are currently buried under the weight of an overwhelming backlog of requests and projects.

It's 'back to the future' for the 275 CIOs who responded to the survey, with some CIOs describing it as an environment similar to 1999.

The pent-up demand follows a few lean years of minimal development after the dotcom crash. Compliance-related projects have also contributed to the renewed activity. But what's also interesting about the survey, which appears in the March '06 issue of CIO magazine, is that 83 percent of respondents said they would not be going offshore. A mere 4 percent listed India as their preferred destination, so most outsourcing will be kept onshore.

Overall, the survey results were surprisingly good with 37 percent increasing headcount over the next 12 months, no doubt to accommodate all of those new projects. While contracting is a routine part of the job, only 50 percent of CIOs said they will outsource less than 10 percent of their labor.

Hopefully, a looming staff shortage won't be too much of a hindrance to all these project plans. IT professionals are also popular with mahogany row with more than one-third of Australian CIOs reporting directly to the CEO. So there it is: IT has taken center stage, so take a bow and enjoy the applause.

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