CIO Survey 2015

Competition, digital migration push CIOs to transform

Ben Kelly
Brainstorm editor Ben Kelly: Inadequate budgets and lack of skills worry CIOs
The 2016 CIO Survey results offer a revealing look into the minds of this country's top CIOs, their concerns and priorities, their frustrations and successes.

The Survey, now in its third year and run in conjunction with MTN Business, shows that some of the old problems such as budget, skills and time are still around but that newer ones such competition, digital migration and globalisation must be addressed, too. It is also a look at the state of the market: what pressures are being brought to bear on local organisations and what constraints the CIO operates with.

While innovation in companies is often held up as best practice, the mood on the ground is somewhat different: almost half of CIOs said they were not expected to drive innovation in their organisations, with only 24% saying that IT was a major source of business innovation.

This was a worrying trend according to Brainstorm editor Ben Kelly, who said local companies were placing themselves at risk by not putting their IT teams at the forefront of innovation. At the same time, 49% of respondents said they were expected to develop digital strategy, up from 40% last year and all reported increased interest in IoT and big data.

Mounting pressure

Size of Organisation Industry sector - Grouped

The study also confirmed that execs in charge of business technology find themselves under mounting pressure, with 83% of the CIOs reporting they are being pushed to change their roles and responsibilities, largely spurred by competition and digital transformation.

"With companies across industry sectors seeing significant change, it's obvious that the role of the CIO would change as well, and that is also clear from the results of the survey," Kelly said.

This change is being driven by two key factors: competition and digital transformation.

Lack of discipline

Size of Organisation

The survey also found that lack of discipline in using IT is hampering IT organisations' efforts to be more effective. The other top barriers were businesses seeing IT as a cost centre, and changing goalposts when it comes to expectations from IT.

This indicated that while the IT departments have moved to beef up their business skills, the line of business departments are not coming to the party, said Kelly.

Size of Organisation

When it comes to the top concerns of CIOs, inadequate budgets are still a concern. It also appears that a skills shortage is becoming acute: 75% of respondents listed this as a concern, up from 69% last year. Most CIOs however said their relationships with end users have consistently improved.

Size of Organisation Industry sector - Grouped

From an operational point of view, the two areas that have seen a significant increase are security (64%, up from 53% last year), and the need to consolidate and modernise legacy applications (57%, up from 46%), the survey found.

The time spent by CIOs discussing budget and cost dropped from 31% in 2014 to 26% this year. Most time (54%) is still spent on aligning business with IT, although this is down from 66% in 2014.

Size of Organisation Industry sector - Grouped

Top concerns and focus areas

Size of Organisation Industry sector - Grouped

Out of the qualified respondents, more than 50% were from companies with more than 500 employees with almost equal numbers between 500 and 5 000 and above 5 000 employees. The survey also showed a jump in the percentage of respondents from the financial services industry with more than a quarter of responses coming from this sector.

Size of Organisation Industry sector - Grouped

In sum, Kelly said CIOs "are being expected to change the world, keep the bad guys out while changing the engine on the old car, all while it’s still running… and what else? Oh yes … do all of this with less money and make sure everyone works harder too."

About the survey

Brainstorm CIO Survey 2016, run in association with MTN Business, was conducted online during August and September. It was by invitation only, targeting CIOs from SA's top 1 000 corporates, as well as public sector organisations. 178 CIOs participated.

More to come

This is the executive summary of the ITWeb Brainstorm CIO Survey 2016. It reveals the key findings, while the full report including analysis of correlated trends and dives deep into each industry segment to identify their main differences and drivers.

To register your interest in the full 2016 CIO Survey report, which will be released in Early February 2017, contact:

Carrie Waldeck
Tel: 0118073294
The 2015 results report can be viewed here.

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