Economic uncertainty appears to be having a paradoxical effect on investment in innovation, this is according to the findings of a global CIO survey conducted by Harvey Nash and KPMG.
The survey showed that, in spite of the fact that two-thirds (64 percent) of organizations indicated that they were adapting their technology strategy because of unprecedented global political and economic uncertainty, 89 percent are maintaining or ramping up investment in innovation, including in digital labour. More than half (52 percent) are investing in more nimble technology platforms to help their organization innovate and adapt.
This is according to the 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey of IT leadership. While economic uncertainty is making business planning difficult for many organizations, digital strategies have infiltrated businesses across the globe at an entirely new level. The proportion of organizations surveyed that have enterprise-wide digital strategies increased 52 percent in two years, and organizations with a Chief Digital Officer have increased 39 percent over last year. Organizations also report a huge demand for Enterprise Architects – the fastest growing technology skill this year, up 26 percent compared to 2016.
Cyber security vulnerability is at an all-time high, with a third of IT leaders (32 percent) reporting their organization had been subject to a major cyber-attack in the past 24 months – a 45 percent increase from 2013. Only one in five (21 percent) say they are “very well” prepared to respond to these attacks, down from 29 percent in 2014. Despite very visible headline-grabbing attacks such as the recent WannaCry ransomware attack, the biggest jump in threats comes from insider attacks, increasing from 40 percent to 47 percent over last year.
“Making a success of technology has always been challenging, and this year’s Survey says that it has just got harder still,” said Albert Ellis, CEO, Harvey Nash Group. “Layered on top of astonishing advances in technology is a political and economic landscape that is dynamic and changing fast, sometimes in surprising ways. However, what is very clear is that many technology executives are turning this uncertainty into opportunity, driving their organization to become more nimble and digital. CIOs are becoming increasingly influential as CEOs and boards turn to them for help in navigating through the complexity, and the threat and opportunity, which a digital world presents.”
“Organizations have moved on from a world of strategizing and talking about digital, to one in which they are actually making it happen, and we are now seeing widespread and active implementation,” said Lisa Heneghan, KPMG’s Global Head of Technology, Management Consulting. “The businesses we see as Digital Leaders are taking a pragmatic approach, applying technology and automation across their business, including in back office functions, to create a platform for broader transformation”.
Additional findings from the survey, which is now in its 19th year, include:
Digital leadership has changed
- Almost one in five CIOs (18 percent) report their organizations have ‘very effective’ digital strategies.
- CIOs at these digitally-enabled organizations are almost twice as likely to be leading innovation across the business (41 percent versus 23 percent), and are investing at four times the rate of non-leaders in cognitive automation (25 percent versus 7 percent).
- Overall, the survey found almost two-thirds (61 percent) of CIOs from larger organizations are already investing or planning to invest in digital labour.
CIOs love their jobs, and are more likely to be involved at the Board level
- CIOs who are “very fulfilled” in their role is at a three-year high – rising from 33 percent in 2015 to 39 percent this year.
- For the first time in a decade, more than seven in ten CIOs (71 percent) believe the CIO role is becoming more strategic.
- 92 percent of CIOs joined a Board meeting in the past 12 months.
- However, the CIO life span is just five years or less (59 percent), although many want to stay longer.
Female CIOs receive salary boost
- In a striking development, female CIOs are far more likely to have received a salary increase than male CIOs in the past year (42 percent and 32 percent, respectively), but still, the number of women in IT leadership remains extraordinarily low at 9 percent, the same as last year.
Big data/analytics remains the most in-demand skill
- While the fastest growing demand for a technology skill this year was enterprise architecture, big data/analytics remained the most in-demand skill at 42 percent, up 8 percent over last year.
Complex IT projects – increase risk of failure monumentally
- Two thirds (61 percent) of CIOs say IT projects are more complex than they were five years ago, and weak ownership (46 percent), an overly optimistic approach (40 percent), and unclear objectives (40 percent) are the main reasons IT projects fail.
- Over a quarter (27 percent) of CIOs say that a lack of project talent is the cause of project failure, but project management skills are absent from the CIOs top list of technology skills needed in 2017, dropping a staggering 19 percent in one year.