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Everything changed. Or did it?

Now in its 22nd year, the Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey 2020 is the largest IT leadership survey in the world, with over 4,200 responses from CIOs and technology executives across 83 countries (including 265 from Australia).

This year’s report references both pre-COVID-19 findings as well as during COVID-19 responses. Together they give us a unique insight into the before, during, and continuing aftermath of the pandemic.

There is no doubting the pandemic’s dramatic effect on almost every aspect of business and life. The pandemic exposed a growing digital divide, shifted some priorities, and amplified many of the challenges that the IT organisation faced prior to COVID-19. However, fundamentals also remain, such as the top two priorities for boards – improving operational efficiency and improving customer engagement – both long-standing priorities of the technology leader.

Some entered the pandemic better positioned to pivot and scale into new opportunities. In our special report, IT in the New Reality, we share four models of economic recovery patterns. While recovery will be unique to each country, sector and company – common to all is the urgency to act decisively.

Key Australian findings from the CIO survey

  • Additional IT budget – IT leaders reported a median additional spend of 5 percent of IT budget to deal with COVID-19 crisis.
  • Skill shortages, even in a pandemic – for the first time in this survey’s history, cyber-security expertise has become the most in-demand skill set (42 percent), especially in the cloud and data security space.
  • Technology investments – almost half (42 percent) of IT leaders say the pandemic has permanently accelerated digital transformation and the adoption of emergent technologies (AI, machine learning, blockchain and automation). Security and privacy, and customer experience and engagement, are the top investment areas during COVID-19 followed by infrastructure and the cloud.
  • Diverse teams promote better business performance – over half (52 percent) of respondents feel that being diverse has improved trust and collaboration in the technology team.
  • Increased cyber-security threats – four in 10 IT leaders report that their company has experienced more incidents mainly from phishing and malware attacks.
  • A massive surge in remote working – 85 percent of respondents have moved their workforce to remote working, and 53 percent of technology leaders expect half or more of their staff to remain working predominantly from home.
  • Mental health is an issue – eight in 10 IT leaders reported they are concerned about their team’s mental health, and encouragingly, 78 percent have programs put in place to support mental well-being.
  • Technology leaders feel more influential – over six in 10 respondents feel that the pandemic has permanently increased the influence of the technology leader. Australia bucked a downward trend globally for board memberships, rising from 58 percent in 2018 to 60 percent of CIOs, IT Directors and CDOs on the main board in 2020.

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