Friday, March 16, 2007

CIOs Uncensored

CHEN PR's Juli Greenwood contributed to this post...

InformationWeek and Optimize joined forces recently to let us know what’s on the minds of CIOs. The co-hosted webcast featured a panel of CIO experts and unveiled Optimize’s own research relating to today’s CIO hot-buttons: The Multidimensional CIO: Priorities, Challenges, and Emerging Technologies.

Not surprisingly, Optimize reports that there’s plenty to keep a CIO up at night: security tops the list, followed by business intelligence, wireless, web services and a slue of others. It’s a delicate balance, keeping up with the new (Web 2.0 and social networking) and maintaining the old (legacy systems). And you’ve got to do it all while cutting costs and driving new business.

Speaking of Web 2.0 -- small- and medium-sized businesses are embracing the new technologies enthusiastically. A new report from AMI-Partners says that more than 40% -- or 2.8 million -- of small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the U.S. are already using Web 2.0 applications despite the lack of a clear definition for the new platform. (I have to thank our friends at Tekrati for highlighting this report. Their weekly recap of high news from the analysts is such a time saver.)

According to the report, SMBs are using Web 2.0 technologies to:
  • Gain affordable access to otherwise expensive technology solutions. Approximately 14% of U.S. SMBs are already using software-as-a-service (SaaS) and this is expected to grow 24% by the end of 2007.
  • Desire to cost-effectively market, sell and support their customers. Over 400,000 U.S. SMBs currently use webcasts or blogs for advertising and promotion while 260,000 SMBs are leveraging podcasts.
  • Open additional channels of communications while decreasing cost. Another 400,000 U.S. SMBs are currently using Skype while mobile instant messaging (IM) is deployed by over a million U.S.-based SMBs.
  • Participate in online communities and portals. One-in-five SMBs are currently participating in some form of electronic marketplace that specifically caters to buyers and sellers within their industry.

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