We’re in the final stretch of 2020 and most can agree that it’s been a whirlwind. According to an annual survey of CIOs and IT leaders conducted by the Harvey Nash Group and KPMG, technology played a key role in helping organisations stay afloat amid hugely unfamiliar and disruptive conditions. The study was conducted among over 4 000 CIOs across 83 countries and unpacked what the CIO role looks like today, what it will likely be post-pandemic and how they’re feeling about the year ahead.
Some of the key findings of the survey can be found below.
- Global IT leaders spent an additional 5% of their IT budgets on dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
- 41% of organisations experienced increased security incidents, mainly spear phishing and malware attacks.
- Cyber-security expertise has become the most in-demand skill set.
- 43% of respondents have moved their workforce to remote working.
- A quarter of technology leaders expect more than half of their staff to work predominantly from home going forward.
- Around half (47%) believe that the pandemic has permanently accelerated their digital transformation and the adoption of emerging tech.
- Over 60% of respondents agree that their influence has increased because of the pandemic.
The impact of 2020 has resulted in a mix of both positive and negative outcomes.
So, what’s ahead for 2021?
Spend on software and other emerging technologies is set to contract in the coming year as organisations increasingly direct their budgets towards cloud and tools that directly enable productivity, a 2021 State of IT report published by Spiceworks Ziff Davis explains.
This trend is driven by different factors, including the pandemic and a renewed focus on digitalising business processes. Before the coronavirus crisis, CIOs might have had part-time workers sharing software licenses, working on one machine where software was installed locally, says Robin Peto, director of research strategy at Spiceworks Ziff Davis. “When companies are needing to enable a remote workforce and send a computer home with each one of those end users, they probably have to install the true number of licenses for those instances,” Peto said.
But spend will vary depending on industry. For example, 52% of businesses in the power and utilities expect an IT budget increase, around 51% of government entities foresee a rise in IT spend, just under half (49%) of healthcare businesses forecast a rise in budgets and the technology space’s IT budget increase is expected to be around 46%. Among telecoms, business/professional services, retail and financial services, 44% of companies are expecting an IT budget increase.
A big concern right now is uncertainty about the future. According to the Harvey Nash Group and KPMG survey, nearly 60% of respondents are unable to provide accurate forecasts for the long-term because they simply can’t predict what lies ahead. Despite this, when asked to list their top three most important technology investments for the year ahead, security and privacy (47%), customer experience and engagement (44%) and infrastructure/cloud (35%) made the top spots. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, there will be a massive increase in demand for people with the skills needed to make the most of these technologies.
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