Digital innovation is dominating the agenda of technology leaders, but many companies are struggling to manage it, according to the Harvey Nash 2015 CIO Survey in association with KPMG. The pace of digital and the race to innovate has left many organisations lacking an enterprise-wide digital strategy and desperately seeking to acquire the right skills. Despite efforts to close the skills gap, this year skills concerns are running one third higher than in 2013. The demand for big data analytic skills has leapt to the number one most-needed skill, skyrocketing to almost six times higher than the next-most-scarce skill,change management.


Two thirds (66 percent) of CIOs report digital disruption [change resulting from digital technologies that disrupt established business models] as a very significant change to their business, driving them to create new business models and bring new products and services to market faster than before.


Globally, large companies report being at a disadvantage when it comes to digital, with only 17 percent of them saying they believe they’ll do ‘much better’ than competitors in managing digital disruption, compared to 35 percent of small organisations. Only one in ten CIOs believe their organisation will be unaffected by digital disruption in the coming years.


After receiving a record number of responses from nearly 4,000 IT leaders from more than 50 countries and capturing more than a quarter million data points, it is believed this is now the largest survey of IT leadership in the world.


Albert Ellis, CEO of Harvey Nash Group, commented: “What’s most striking about the results is the speed of change. In the seventeen years we have conducted the survey we have never seen a new role grow so quickly as we have the Chief Digital Officer. We have never seen demand for a skill expand so quickly as we have for big data analytics. As technology increasingly becomes focused on the customer, the IT, marketing and operations teams are working together in new ways. Sometimes it creates friction, uncertainty and skills challenges, but for a CIO with the influence, connections and technical ability to bring it all together, it’s an exciting place to be.”


Lisa Heneghan, Head of EMA CIO Advisory, KPMG in the UK commented: “CIOs are concerned that they could lose significant market share to competitors more adept at using technology, yet despite this threat, three in four still don’t have a company-wide approach to digital. Unless CIOs cement this vision, the chance of being overtaken appears a foregone conclusion.


“To get ahead CIOs need to focus on defining their operating model to support a digital business now, and driving through the cultural shift which is fundamental to success.”


Additional key findings from the Harvey Nash 2015 CIO Survey in association with KPMG include:


The Chief Digital Officer growing in prominence, but the role is still evolving