Tech Spend Outside IT Department Creates Opportunities, But Opens Back Door to Potential Security Risks

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Almost two-thirds (63%) of organisations 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, reveals the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey. 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, reveals for those organisations where the IT team is formally involved in decision making around business-led IT, business advantages include improving time to market new products (52% more likely to be ‘significantly better than their competitors’) and employee experience (38% more likely to be ‘significantly better than their competitors’).

However, four in ten (43%) companies are not formally involving IT in those business-led IT decisions. These organisations are twice as likely to have multiple security areas exposed than those who consult IT, 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 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, as the survey found:

  • 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%).  

Marie Myers, CFO of UiPath, told TFT:

“Jumping on the automation bandwagon would be my advice right now. In terms of modernising, people are struggling on how to get started. A lot of the conversations I have with customers focus around ‘Where do I start this?’ They’re wondering what part of the organisation to start in, and how to staff it. This is what can sometimes stall people.

The other thing is that people may not have the skills in the workforce. Today, you need to be digitally literate. It’s so important; you cannot afford to have a workforce that doesn’t understand technology.”

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