CIOs Enjoying Greater Influence, But Skill Shortage Plays Spoilsport

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 24, 2016


Despite seeing an increasing influence in business, CIOs are still are being hindered by technology skills shortage, according to a new survey. The 2016 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey shows that  almost two-thirds (65 percent) of CIOs say they believe a lack of talent will prevent their organization from keeping up with the pace of change, a 10 percent increase in just 12 months.

Data analytics is the most in-demand skill for the second year running, at 39 percent. The biggest jump in skill demand year-over-year is digital, up 21 percent, and security, up 17 percent. Companies most crave the newer digital and IT strategy skills, according to the survey.

Nonetheless, more CIOs report directly to the CEO (34 percent) than at any time in the past decade, rising 10 percent over last year, according to the report. CIOs with a direct report to the CEO are also the happiest (87 percent report job fulfillment).

The findings highlight how CIO priorities continue to shift, revealing the CEO now focuses on IT projects that make money (almost two thirds, 63 percent), compared to save money (37 percent). In fact, some of the traditional top CIO priorities have seen the biggest drop in importance over the last four years. Increasing operational efficiencies has dropped 16 percent, and delivering stable IT performance has dropped 27 percent.

According to the survey, there is even more significant change happening with CIOs in smaller businesses, as they are more than five times as likely to spend the majority of their time working on external-facing projects such as developing stakeholder relationships and growth strategies, instead of traditional IT functions like systems and infrastructure.

“The Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey reveals today’s IT landscape has dramatically shifted in the last 3 years more so than we’ve seen in the past 18 years of the survey,” said Harvey Nash USAPAC President and CEO Bob Miano. “As the CIO role grows in influence, there is more opportunity for the CIO than ever before. The impact of digital strategies, increase in diversity leadership and importance of cyber security are driving this change.”

The study shows that women in senior IT leadership roles has risen by a third – up from 6 to 9 percent in the last year. Sixteen percent of the U.S. survey respondents were female, compared to eleven percent of the global respondents. The global figure is up from 8 percent last year and is the first time in the survey’s history women made up more than one in ten participants.

CIOs are increasingly embracing digital. One in five companies now employs a Chief Digital Officer, almost tripling the number since 2014. CDOs are twice as likely to report to the CEO (46 percent) than to the CIO (21 percent). The CEO is most likely to “own” digital, as their marketing peers, it says.

They are also paying attention to cyber security, with a third of global CIOs responded to cyber attacks in the last two years. Almost half of CIOs (49 percent) report data loss and privacy risks as the biggest challenge with adopting cloud technology. Even though only a fifth (22 percent) of CIOs feel confident their organization is very well prepared to identify and respond to cyber attacks compared to nearly a third in 2014.

At the same time companies are primarily outsourcing for skills and flexibility, not to save money, said the survey, with half of CIOs (50 percent) will increase investment in outsourcing this year, up by four percent from 2015. In the last five years organizations where the majority of their IT workforce is contingent has grown by 33 percent (9 percent to 12 percent).

“The role of the CIO in today’s business is truly focused on innovation now,” said Marc Snyder, KPMG’s CIO Advisory Global Center of Excellence leader. “CIOs are no longer focused solely on delivering the right technology to enable the enterprise, rather they are now the key agent of change for moving enterprise strategy forward.”


“This survey confirms that more than ever before, IT leaders must be strategic partners with the CEO,” he added.