Why is it important to think about the future? Because only by doing so do we have any chance of preparing ourselves for what might come our way. In this month's CIO Insight survey, we asked the more than 750 respondents to think carefully about the future of information technology, in both the short and the long term. The results, divided into two sections, suggest that, by and large, CIOs are an optimistic bunch. In the short term, within the next 12 months or so, they expect to be responding to a renewed emphasis on revenue-producing strategies on the part of the business units they serve, even as they maintain their efforts to rationalize their own internal processes in a continuing effort to cut costs. Looking out five years from now, they see a business environment that is not radically different from the world they work in today. The real-time enterprise, they say, is on the way, and it will bring with it much greater managerial and technological flexibility. But the march toward a global economy will be slow, and technology will not have made the world much more secure. It is, in essence, a conservative vision of the future, one that we are, in a sense, already prepared for. Will the world really be so unchanged?
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