World’s largest tech leadership survey reveals priorities and challenges amongst firms
SINGAPORE – 23 September 2020 – Companies spent the equivalent of around US$15bn1 extra a week on technology to enable safe and secure home working during COVID-19, reveals the 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey. This was one of the biggest surges in technology investment in history – with the world’s IT leaders spending more than their annual budget rise2 in just three months, as the global crisis hit, and lockdowns began to be enforced.
The largest technology leadership survey in the world of over 4,200 IT leaders, including participants based in Singapore, analysed responses from organisations with a combined technology spend of over US$250bn. The study also found that despite this huge surge of spending, and security & privacy being the top investment during COVID-19, 4 in 10 IT leaders report that their company has experienced more cyber attacks. Over three quarters of these attacks were from phishing (83%), and almost two thirds from malware (62%) suggesting that the massive move to home working has increased exposure from employees.
At the same time, organisations have struggled to find skilled cyber security professionals to support this dramatic shift to homeworking – and report that cyber security (35%) is now the most ‘in demand’ technology skill in the world. This is the first time a security related skill has topped the list of global technology skills shortages for over a decade.
Although technology spend has risen dramatically during the pandemic, the survey found that technology budgets will be under more strain over the year ahead. Prior to COVID-19, over half (51%) of IT leaders expected a budget rise in the next 12 months, but during the pandemic this number declined to 43%. This still represents a net increase in budgets and remains almost twice as high as IT spend in 2009 - in the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash Group said: “This unexpected and unplanned surge in technology investment has also been accompanied by massive changes in how organisations operate – with more organisational change in the last six months than we have seen in the last ten years. Success will largely be about how organisations deal with their culture and engage with their people. In a world where location has dissolved, where the office now includes the kitchen table, and where over 80% of IT leaders are concerned about the mental health of their teams, organisations will need to reformulate their employee offer to attract and retain the talent they need to support them through the pandemic, and beyond.”
Steve Bates, Principal, KPMG in the US and global leader of KPMG International’s CIO Center of Excellence, said: “IT in the New Reality will be shaped by economic recovery patterns unique to each sector, location, and company. While every CIO is responding to these forces differently, one thing remains consistent; the urgency to act swiftly and decisively. Technology has never been more important to organisations’ ability to survive and thrive.”
In relating the findings in the report to the developments in Singapore, Ong Pang Thye, Managing Partner, KPMG in Singapore, commented: “The Circuit Breaker period during this pandemic has accelerated the trend towards remote working in Singapore. Many businesses in Singapore have had to rapidly digitise their operations to ensure business continuity – a process that would have typically taken many years to achieve. However, transitioning to remote working presents a unique set of operational risks. To mitigate these risks, businesses need to ensure that their people have the right tools, connectivity and environment to work remotely for extended periods of time, and have received the necessary technical and compliance training as well as acquired the requisite skills to be effective, either through upskilling or re-skilling, whilst keeping their own and third party data safe and secure at all times.”
COVID-19: The business issues the board wants IT to address:
Remote working and the new deal for employees:
Influence of the technology leader:
KPMG in Singapore
Notes to editors:
1Over an eight-week period (5th June – 10th August 2020), global IT leaders reported a median additional technology spend of 5% to deal with the COVID-19 crisis as a percentage of the total of their annual IT/technology budget. Data from Forrester, published 3rd February 2020, shows that global IT spending was forecasted to reach US$3.5trillion in 2019 and US$3.59trillion in 2020 (https://go.forrester.com/blogs/new-forrester-forecast-shows-global-tech-market-growth-will-slip-to-3-in-2020-and-2021/). As global IT leaders report a median additional spend of 5% of their IT budgets on technology to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, this was an additional surge/spike in IT spending of around US$175bn (5% of the US$3.5trillion global IT spend in 2019 forecasted by Forrester) – to deal with the initial impact of COVID-19. This is equivalent to around US$15bn per week during the first three months of the crisis, when this spend would have undoubtedly taken place to support the sudden move to remote/distributed working.
2Analysis by Harvey Nash and KPMG of a range of publicly available global data on IT/tech spending shows that annual rises in spend have tracked at 5% and below for more than a decade, reaching a peak of 5% growth in 2018. For instance, Forrester research, published 3rd February 2020, found that the growth in global spending on tech goods and services dropped from a peak of 5% in 2018 to 3.9% in 2019. (https://go.forrester.com/blogs/new-forrester-forecast-shows-global-tech-market-growth-will-slip-to-3-in-2020-and-2021/). As global IT leaders report a median additional spend of 5% of their IT budgets on technology to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, this level of spend, in just three months, is more than their annual budget rise.
3Digital leaders are those that have organisations that are ‘very’ or ‘extremely effective’ at using digital technologies to advance their business strategy.
About the Survey
In its 22nd year, the 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey is the largest IT leadership survey in the world in terms of number of respondents. The survey of over 4,200 CIOs and technology leaders took place in two pulses - one prior to COVID-19 (commencing on 17th December 2019) and one during the pandemic (5th June – 10 August 2020), across 108 countries.
For more information about the survey and to request a full copy of the results, please visit www.hnkpmgciosurvey.com.
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