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Tech Spend Outside IT Function Creates Opportunities, But Opens Up to Potential Security Risks

The recent survey by Harvey NASH/KPMG CIO 2019 revealed that (63%) 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.

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, analysing responses from organisations with a combined technology spend of over US$250bn.

However, four in ten (43%) 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. 16% of organizations that don’t formally involve IT in business-led IT decisions versus 7% for those that do., 23% less likely to be `very or extremely effective’ at building customer trust with technology, and 9% 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% vs 49% last year).

The survey found the following details when analysing 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.

Fewer CIOs sit on the board although the influence of the CIO remains intact (66% this year view the role as gaining influence compared to 65% in 2018), fewer CIOs now sit on the board dropping from 71% to 58% 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% 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 reorganisation of roles across the business. However, 69% 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%), cyber security (39%) and AI (39%).

“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.

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.”

Further findings of the survey include:

The survey also found that organization which are using digital technologies to advance their business strategies, performed better than their competitors on every aspect. Digital leaders are also more likely to introduce `major new changes to products and services’ in the next three years. Gender diversity initiatives which big tech firms having effect because 74% of IT leaders feel their diversity and inclusion initiatives within their teams are at most moderately successful. There has been only minimal growth in women on tech teams 22% which is not a good signal for big tech firms compared to last year which was 21% the survey further says.

Quantum computing is also another important area which in the coming years will help the tech teams of organization, but as of now only 4% (107 global organizations) have implemented Quantum Computing to at least some degree.  Mostly big pharmaceuticals, financial services and energy organizations making bets in this area.

IT leaders have increased their IT budgets under their control than at any time in the last 15 years. For technology projects where the CEO prefers to `save money’ almost half (45%) of respondents report budget increases compared to just 38% last year, suggesting many CIOs are investing to save, for instance through automation says the survey.

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