More than 40% of businesses worldwide expect their product/service offering to be entirely changed by the next three years. This massive evolution will be driven by digital transformation and bring organisations closer to their customers while becoming more agile and dynamic. And CIOs are ready to steer digital disruption, says the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, the largest IT leadership survey in the world in terms of number of respondents.
First good news is that IT budgets are gearing up: about 55% of technology leaders reported increases in IT budgets under their control, more than at any time in the last 15 years. Some projects are still aimed at efficiency and cost-saving, for instance, through automation, but the driving force behind much of the investment is in cybersecurity, data analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and data-driven transformation.
Cloud computing seems to have become prevalent, with over three-quarters of organisations investing in this area and almost half adopting it on a wide scale. About 20% of businesses have implemented Internet of Things solutions or Artificial Intelligence systems, at least on a small scale. Preliminary signs of Quantum Computing are also on the way: although only 4% of respondents kicked-off projects in this area, big pharmaceuticals, financial services and energy businesses are showing real interests for this year and beyond.
The survey provides some inspiring insights about IT governance. If only 58% of CIOs sit on the executive board, the influence of the CIO is now undisputed, and 66% view their role as gaining more power over time. Where the IT department is formally involved in decision making around business-led IT, organisations experience a reduced time to market new products (52% more likely to be ‘significantly better than their competitors’) and superior employee satisfaction (38% more likely to be ‘substantially better than their competitors’).
Over 60% of respondents allow technology to be managed outside the IT department, typically by external suppliers or consultants. Outsourcing decisions are somewhat driven by budget constraints, but also by the opportunity to take advantage of valuable know-how and skilled teams. Don’t forget that technology leaders are still struggling to find the right talents to manage digital transformation, and the three most scarce skills are reported to be big data/analytics (44%), cybersecurity (39%) and AI (39%).
As a whole, the survey pictures a scenario where CIOs are continuously called to find a balance between accelerating innovation and sustainable governance, but they are ready to win this challenge.
Photo credit: Gerd Leonhard