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May 23, 2017

CIO Survey: Global uncertainty fuels new breed of digital innovators

Global unrest is having a positive impact on tech strategies, but there's a lot still do be done when it comes to women in tech.

By James Nunns

Far from stalling digital innovation, the global and political uncertainty is actually helping to create a new breed of digital innovators.

While uncertainty is having an impact on technology strategies (64%), the vast majority of organisations are either maintaining or increasing investment in innovation (89%), with more than half targeting more nimble technologies to help their organisation to adapt.

That’s according to the 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, which also found that the proportion of organisations that have enterprise-wide digital strategies has increased by 52% in just two years, while the number of Chief Digital Officers has increased by 39% over the last year.

It isn’t just CDOs that are in-demand to help to deliver these digital strategies though, with Enterprise Architects the fastest growing technology skill of the year, up 26% from 2016.

However, 61% of CIOs saying that IT projects are more complex than five years ago, and weak ownership (46%), an overly optimistic approach (40%), and unclear objectives (40%), are cited as the main reasons why IT projects fail.

Just over a quarter (27%) also say that a lack of project talent is a cause of project failure, but project management skills aren’t on the top list of skills required for 2017, in-fact, this skill dropped 19% from a year ago.

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“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.”

Somewhat unsurprisingly, a third of IT leaders (32%) said that their organisation had been subject to a major cyber attack in the past 24 months, an increase of 45% from 2013. Worryingly, only 21% said thay they are “very well” prepared to respond to these attacks, which is a decrease from 29% in 2014.

On a more positive note, the survey found that female CIOs are far more likely to have received a salary increase than male CIOs in the past year (42% to 32% respectively), however, there remains a damningly low number of women in IT leadership roles at just 9%, the same as last year.

Additional findings saw that while the fastest growing demand for a technology skills was enterprise architecture, big data/analytics is the most in-demand skill at 42%, growing at 8% from the previous year.

Read more: #BeBoldForChange: Women in tech explain what International Women’s Day means to them

The survey is based on 4,498 CIOs and technology leaders across 86 countries.

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