Harvey Nash / KPMG: More CIOs reporting directly to CEO | KPMG Global
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Harvey Nash / KPMG: More CIOs reporting directly to CEO

Harvey Nash / KPMG: More CIOs reporting directly to CEO

Largest global IT leadership survey reveals a more creative, influential CIO, but 65 percent are hindered by the greatest tech skills shortage since Great Recession.


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More CIOs report directly to the CEO (34 percent) than at any time in the past decade, rising 10 percent over last year, according to the 2016 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey. CIOs with a direct report to the CEO are also the happiest (87 percent report job fulfilment). The findings highlight how CIO priorities continue to shift; the CEO now focuses on IT projects that make money (almost two-thirds, 63 percent), compared to save money (37 percent). In fact, some of the traditional top CIO priorities have seen the biggest drop in importance over the last four years. Increasing operational efficiencies has dropped 16 percent and delivering stable IT performance has dropped 27 percent. 

However, the survey showed that despite being more creative and increasing their influence, CIOs say they still are being hindered by the greatest technology skills shortage since the Great Recession almost a decade ago. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of CIOs say they believe a lack of talent will prevent their organization from keeping up with the pace of change, a 10 percent increase in just 12 months. Data analytics is the most in-demand skill for the second year running, at 39 percent. The biggest jump in skill demand year-over-year is digital, up 21 percent and security, up 17 percent. Companies most crave the newer digital and IT strategy skills, according to the survey. In its 18th year, the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey is the largest IT leadership survey in the world, and more than any other time, the survey results reveal an undeniable increase in the influence of the CIO. There is even more significant change happening with CIOs in smaller businesses, as they are more than five times as likely to spend the majority of their time working on external-facing projects such as developing stakeholder relationships and growth strategies, instead of traditional IT functions like systems and infrastructure.

“While the Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey reveals the CIO is enjoying unprecedented influence, it also shows the role is being stretched in many directions,” said Albert Ellis, CEO, Harvey Nash Group. “From grappling with an increasing cyber security threat, to working with the board on innovation and digital transformation, CIOs in 2016 are dealing with a more varied range of challenges than ever before, many of which are far, far away from traditional IT.  Adaptability, influencing skills and an ability to keep a clear head in uncertain times are becoming increasingly important business skills for today’s CIO.“

"We are on the cusp of a significant development in the 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Lisa Heneghan, KPMG’s Global CIO Advisory Service Network Leader. “This is driving new demands on the CIO and we are seeing the evolution of a ‘Creative CIO’ who is both a technology and business strategist, and a business model innovator. This Creative CIO is moving away from ‘keeping the lights on’, to enabling the business to create value." 

Additional findings from the 2016 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey include:

Women in IT – Women in IT leadership roles rises by one-third

  • Women in senior IT leadership roles has risen by one-third – up from 6 to 9 percent in the last year.
  • Eleven percent of survey respondents were female, up from 8 percent last year and the first time in the survey’s history women made up more than one in 10 participants. 
  • One-third of CIOs report that they now have a formal diversity initiative in place.

Digital – Less evidence of a turf war over who owns it

  • One in five companies now employs a Chief Digital Officer, almost tripling the number since 2014.
  • CDOs are twice as likely to report to the CEO (46 percent) than to the CIO (21 percent).
  • The CEO is most likely to “own” digital, at 21 percent.
  • IT (16 percent) is almost twice as likely to “own” digital as their marketing peers (9 percent).

Cyber security – One-third of global CIOs responded to cyber-attacks in the last two years

  • Almost one-third (28 percent) of CIOs have had to respond to a major IT security or cyber-attack on behalf of their organization in the last two years.
  • Almost half of CIOs (49 percent) report data loss and privacy risks as the biggest challenge with adopting cloud technology.
  • Only one-fifth (22 percent) of CIOs feel confident their organization is very well prepared to identify and respond to cyber-attacks compared to nearly one-third in 2014.

Outsourcing and contingent labor – for skills and flexibility, not to save money

  • This year’s survey supports the fundamental change in the reason for outsourcing: companies are primarily outsourcing for skills and flexibility, not to save money.
  • Half of CIOs (50 percent) will increase investment in outsourcing this year, up by four percent from 2015.
  • One in 10 CIOs (10 percent) at small organizations will rely on contingent staff for more than three-quarters of their team, which is five times higher than the rate CIOs at large organizations.

For more information about the survey and to request a full copy of the results, please visit www.hnkpmgciosurvey.com.

About the Survey

The 2016 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey is the largest IT leadership survey in the world in terms of number of respondents. The survey of 3,352 CIOs and technology leaders was conducted between 12 December 2015 and 10 April 2016, across 82 countries.

About Harvey Nash

Harvey Nash has helped over half the world's leading companies recruit, source and manage the highly skilled talent they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive, global and technology driven world. With over 7,000 experts in more than 40 offices across Europe, Asia and the USA, we have the reach and resources of a global organization, whilst fostering a culture of innovation and agility that empowers our people across the world to respond to constantly changing client needs. We work with clients, both large and small, to deliver a portfolio of services: executive search, professional recruitment and IT outsourcing.

To learn more, please visit www.harveynash.com.

Follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/harveynashgroup.

For more information, please contact:

Michelle Smith

Harvey Nash

+44 (20) 7333 2677


Amy Greenshields

KPMG International

+1 416 777 8749


The views and opinions expressed herein are the personal opinions of the interviewees and authors based on their personal experience working as Auditors in the industry and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.

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