CIO Roles Grow More Strategic As Cloud Migration and Data Security Become Industry Standards

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The topic of cybersecurity is rapidly moving up the agenda of CIOs.

“Delivering consistent and stable IT performance” has been a top priority for the past two years, reports the Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO survey 2018, which shows 62 percent of respondents consider it a major business focus.

The survey is based on feedback from almost 4,000 C-level respondents, out of which 42 percent are CIOs or IT Directors and 6 percent are CEOs, from 84 countries. 12 percent of the IT leaders are women.

As more businesses look into investing in digital transformation and cloud services, the role of the CIO has expanded in recent years, mostly because the landscape is not very stable due to disruption in terms of legislation and increasingly sophisticated malware families released in the wild.

CIOs are more influential; 65 percent of respondents believe the role of CIOs in companies is critical and more strategic. IT investments have grown by 49 percent but, at the time of the survey, almost half of respondents said they wouldn’t be GDPR compliant by the deadline.

“Digital is everywhere. And so should the CIO be. Few executives have such a complete view of the enterprise, or the wide trust of their peers,” said Bob Miano, president & CEO, Harvey Nash USA.

“CIOs need to go beyond the technology and position digital as a business transformation accelerator and revenue generator,” added Phil Crozier, partner, KPMG in the UK.

More than half of organizations classified their IT/business alignment as ‘moderate’ or ‘worse.’ When asked about security incidents, 33 percent said they had been attacked in the last two years, while 9 percent said concerns have grown. The education sector has been the most targeted and most damaged, the report found.

The top three priorities reported by companies in 2018 are improving cyber security, managing operational risk and compliance, and improving business process. These have grown by 23 percent, 12 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Digital investments are driving 2018 business strategies, as leaders increase investments in virtual reality (6x), blockchain technology (5x) and robotic process automation (2.5x).

Despite their investment plans and the increase in security budgets in the past 13 years, organizations still struggle with a major skill shortage. 65 percent of executives feel their organization would be further ahead if they didn’t face a lack of talent, while 67 percent want to automate and redefine business processes to reduce the skill gap.

IT leaders have to deal with a number of risks, especially when implementing emerging technology in an unstable security environment. Many challenges come with digitalization and cloud migration and, to build a stable, digitized infrastructure, they have to completely rethink business processes.