IT skills lacking – new survey

A new global information technology (IT) leadership survey has found that a shortage of skilled IT workers and threats to cyber security are major challenges in the way of companies keeping pace with innovation and disruptive technology – a term coined by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen to describe a new technology that displaces an established one.

The Harvey Nash/KPMG 2016 CIO Survey results were presented today at a chief information officer (CIO) forum at the Courtyard by Marriott, at which Managing Director of KPMG Global CIO Advisory Centre of Excellence Marc Snyder said cyber threats were keeping many an IT leader awake at nights.   

“The data shows that 28 per cent of CIOs had to respond to major incidents within the past year. This is up from 25 per cent in 2015 [report] . . . . And quite frankly I think this is
under-reported. I think either in many situations threats are happening and they are not getting reported or the companies decide to be mum on the topic,” Snyder said in a Skype presentation from the United States.

However, he said the majority of companies’ managers and boards understood the dangers posed by cyber threats and supported IT leaders in taking the necessary actions to thwart such threats.

Of even greater concern to the businesses was the absence of the relevant IT skills among employees, with 65 per cent of respondents reporting that a lack of talent prevented their organizations from “keeping up with the pace of change”.

“So this is really something that is really choking back their ability to respond to the businesses need to innovate . . . and this is a situation that does not seem to be letting up in any time soon,” said Snyder, who acknowledged that some companies were adapting by training some of their workers or outsourcing certain aspects of their IT operations.

The survey also pointed out that project success rates had declined over the past year although infrastructure projects continued to be a bright spot. Additionally, digital disruption was identified as one area that had a profound impact on the role that IT plays in almost every type of organization.

About 23 per cent of respondents said digital disruption was driving new forms of customer engagement through mobile and social media channels. However, 17 per cent of IT leaders said they had no idea where digital disruption was coming from.

Brenda Pope
Brenda Pope

Partner Advisory Services KPMG (Barbados) Brenda Pope said one of the challenges companies here faced was the pervasiveness of technology and how it was replacing some aspects of human labour.

She said if owners of local enterprises wanted to be among the best in the world, CIOs and IT leaders had to understand the issues and how they should respond to them.

“So we need to make sure that our boards and CEOs understand that IT is not a technology issue. It is a business issue and therefore they need to be aware and educated about what the benefits, opportunities and issues are, whether it is security, agility, responsiveness or customer centricity. They need to understand what IT can do,” she said.

The Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey 2016, one of the largest global IT leadership surveys with almost 3,400 responses from CIOs and technology leaders, was conducted between December 12, 2015 and April 10, 2016 across 82 countries.

Only two companies from Barbados participated in the survey.

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