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The global uncertainty forces 64% of organizations to adapt their technology strategy

It’s often said the IT industry exists in its own world. But that world hinges on what happens in the rest of the actual world. And times are tough. According to the Harvey Nash/KPMG 2017 CIO Survey 64% of organizations are adapting their technology strategy because of the “unprecedented” global political and economic uncertainty.

The Harvey Nash/KPMG 2017 CIO Survey features the opinions of 4498 IT leaders in 86 countries. They work with a combined IT budget of over $300 billion. “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 in a release.

“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.”

That certainly seems to be the case. 89% of respondents are saying they are either maintaining or even ramping up their investment in innovations. One of the areas is digital labor. 52% of companies are investing in nimble technology platforms to be more innovative and adapt quicker and easier.

Strategies and skills

Also, more and more companies are adding tech strategies. There are now 52% more organizations which have an enterprise-wide digital strategy. And 39% more companies now have a Chief Digital Officer position. According to the survey, the fastest growing tech skill for 2017 is… the Enterprise Architect. It nets a jump of 26%. Still, the most in-demand skill is big data/analytics – up 8% for the past year. A total of 42% of organizations need such specialists.

In each of the last four years, around 60 per cent of respondents have reported skills shortages, the report reads. “This is very different to the heady days before the Great Recession when four out of five respondents persistently complained about this problem. Is this the new normal? Big data/analytics, business analysis and enterprise architecture are the most in-demand skills”, writes dr. Jonathan Mitchell, non-executive Chair, Global CIO Practice at Harvey Nash.

“This year, architecture staged a comeback after several years of decline. Could this demand be related to the increasingly complex project landscape that many organizations find themselves grappling with? In terms of gender diversity, progress remains slow. The improvement we saw last year seems to have petered out. While a third of IT leaders have diversity initiatives in place, there has been little, if any, movement in the last five years. Barely 10 per cent of IT leaders are female”, he adds.

CIOs matter

18% of CIOs say 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). Also, for the first time in a decade, more than 71% of CIOs believe their role is becoming more strategic. 92% of CIOs say they have joined at least one Board meeting in the past 12 months.

CIOs also share their toughest challenges for 2017. Unsurprisingly, that’s cyber security. 32% say their organization had been subject to a major cyber-attack in the past 24 months. This represents a 45 percent increase from 2013.

Only 21% say they are “very well” prepared to respond to these attacks, down from 29 percent in 2014. But companies aren’t that worried about attacks like WannaCry. The biggest jump in threats comes from insider attacks, increasing from 40 percent to 47 percent over last year.