Uncertain world forcing global technology leaders to rethink strategies, says new survey

BY Fraser Tennant

Unprecedented political and economic uncertainty across the globe is forcing technology leaders to rethink their strategies, according to a survey carried out by Harvey Nash and KPMG.

‘Navigating Uncertainty’ is the largest IT leadership survey ever undertaken and includes 4498 responses from chief information officers (CIOs) and technology executives across 86 countries. In the main, the survey finds that technology leaders believe that the level of change they are experiencing has reached unprecedented levels and is increasingly coming from unexpected corners.

That said, many technology executives are turning this uncertainty into opportunity and are helping their organisations to become more nimble and digital, a strategic rethink they feel will help them navigate through unpredictable change and thrive in an uncertain world.

“Few would have predicted the seismic shift caused by recent political change in many western countries”, wrote Albert Ellis, chief executive of Harvey Nash Group. “And few would have predicted the astonishing advances that have been made in data analytics, cloud, or – as this year’s survey reveals – automation."

The survey’s key findings include: (i) two-thirds of organisations are adapting their technology strategy because of unprecedented global political and economic uncertainty; (ii) 89 percent of organisations are maintaining or ramping up investment in innovation, including in digital labour; (iii) digital strategies have been embraced by businesses at an entirely new level; (iv) cyber security vulnerability is at an all-time high; (v) female CIOs are far more likely to have received a salary increase than male CIOs in the past year, although the number of women in IT leadership remains low at nine percent; and (vi) weak ownership, an overly optimistic approach and unclear objectives are the main reasons why IT projects fail.

The survey (now in its 19th year) also found a clear divergence between organisations that are effective at digital transformation and those that are not. CIOs at these ‘digital leader’ organisations are almost twice as likely to be leading innovation across the business and their organisations are investing in cognitive automation at four times the rate of others.

“Whilst the future might be difficult to predict, what is very clear is that many technology executives are turning this uncertainty into opportunity”, wrote Lisa Heneghan, global head of technology at KPMG. “They are helping their organisations become more nimble and digital, to navigate through unpredictable change and thrive in an uncertain world.”

Report: Navigating Uncertainty

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