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Changing approach to technology provision creates risks as well as opportunities

Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of organizations now allow technology to be managed outside the IT department, a shift that brings with it both significant business advantages and increased privacy and security risks, according to the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey.  When IT spend is managed away from the direct control of the CIO companies are twice as likely to have multiple security areas exposed, and more likely to become a victim of a major cyber attack.

The largest technology leadership survey in the world, analyzing responses from organizations with a combined technology spend of over US$250bn, reveals that, for those organizations where the IT team is formally involved in decision making around business-led IT, business advantages include improving time to market new products (52 percent more likely to be ‘significantly better than their competitors’) and employee experience (38 percent more likely to be ‘significantly better than their competitors’). However, four in ten (43 percent) companies are not formally involving IT in those business-led IT decisions. 

These organizations are twice as likely to have multiple security areas exposed than those who consult IT, 23 percent less likely to be ‘very or extremely effective’ at building customer trust with technology, and 9 percent more likely to have been targeted by a major cyber attack in the last two years. These risks are uncovered at a time when cyber security reaches an all-time high as a board priority (56 percent vs 49 percent last year).

The huge opportunity to capitalise on the value of business-led IT, but also manage its risks, comes at a time of significant change for the business, the CIO, and the IT department, as the survey found: 

  • Fewer CIOs sit on the board - although the influence of the CIO remains intact(66 percent this year view the role as gaining influence compared to 65 percent in 2018), fewer CIOs now sit on the board – dropping from 71 percent to 58 percent in just two years. 
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation is driving huge change – as the IT department is being tasked by its board to use AI/automation to improve efficiencies (up 17 percent this year as a board priority), this is leading CIOs to expect that up to 1 in 5 jobs will be replaced by AI/automation within 5 years. This is likely to lead to a significant reorganization of roles across the business. However, 69 percent of CIOs believe that new jobs will compensate for job losses to AI/automation.
  • Skills shortages – technology leaders are struggling to find the right talent with skills shortages at their highest level since 2008. The three most scarce skills are big data/analytics (44 percent), cyber security (39 percent) and AI (39 percent).  

“In an age where anyone with a smartphone and credit card can set up an IT system, there are both incredible opportunities and major risks. Those enterprises that get the balance right between innovation and governance will be the winners,” said Albert Ellis, CEO of Harvey Nash. “At the same time, boards are asking their CIO and technology team to prioritize automation of jobs. How organizations adapt to automation will increasingly become a priority, and many are not at all ready.” 

Steve Bates, Global Leader, CIO Advisory Centre of Excellence, KPMG International, said, “There is no longer business strategy and technology strategy, it’s simply strategy with technology driving it. This research clearly shows that organizations putting technology in the hands of value-creators and connecting the front, middle and back office are winning in the market. The future of IT is a customer obsessed, well governed, connected enterprise.”

About the survey

In its 21st year, the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey is the largest IT leadership survey in the world in terms of number of respondents. The survey of 3,645 CIOs and technology leaders was conducted between 13th December 2018 and 4th April 2019, across 108 countries. 

More details.



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