CIO Survey 2016 reveals three digital challenges for CIOs

As the results of the 2016 Logicalis CIO Survey are published, Joanne Nelson reveals how distributed IT, shadow IT departments and data security risks are the big issues for CIOs as they respond to challenges from digital disrupters.

Businesses worldwide are responding to threats posed by digital disrupters like Über and Airbnb. The Logicalis Global CIO Survey 2016 polled 708 CIOs worldwide and found the digital transformation of business is gathering pace, with 73% of firms worldwide now digitally enabled to some extent.

Big challenges for CIOs

This rapidly changing environment poses big challenges for CIO. CIOs have, for instance, less control over IT spending than ever before – 40% now say they make 50% of spending decisions or less.

This trend is also reflected in the frequency with which CIOs are by-passed altogether – with line of business buying technology without involving IT at all. The proportion reporting that this happens often, very often or most of the time has risen from 29% in 2015 to 39% in 2016.

Challenge 1 - Distributed IT

One result of this loss of control is a move away from centralised IT, with more and more CIOs now operating in ‘distributed’ IT environments. This decentralisation of IT, a natural extension of ‘shadow IT,’ is no longer seen as subversive and is now viewed as a positive and essential element of digital transformation.

CIOs should ensure they support this approach; the traditional IT department must become digital enablers.

Challenge 2 – Shadow IT departments

The vast majority of CIOs (83%) report that line of business departments now employ IT people whose role is to support business function-specific software, applications and cloud services – shadow IT departments - CIOs seem content to work with them. More than a fifth (22%) work with ‘shadow IT departments’ on a daily basis and 41% do so at least weekly.

As my colleague Vince de Luca has said: “The challenge for IT departments and CIOs is to find ways to support these specialists effectively – securing the network and vital data without stifling the ‘shadow innovation’ their skills support.”

Challenge 3 - Security

The combination of IoT, distributed IT and the increased pervasion of apps into the very core of the business – along with an ever-evolving threat landscape - represent a perfect security storm.

As a result, the CIOs surveyed cited security as far and away the biggest challenge related to the increased use of cloud services:

  • More than three quarters (78%) pointed to security as a challenge, with related issues like data sovereignty (47%) and local data regulations (37%) coming in second and third.
  • CIOs expect the prevalence of increasingly sophisticated threats (61%) to be the number one issue for the next 12 months, while issues like ransomware and corporate extortion were highlighted by more than half (56%).

Meeting the challenge

The sheer range of issues facing CIOs as a result of digital transformation means the pressure to hand off day-to-day technology management, to focus on strategy and reframe IT departments as internal service providers, is greater than ever.

In response, CIOs are increasingly seeking partner led and delivered services. This year a quarter (24%) of CIOs outsource most of their IT (more than 50% outsourced), and the number outsourcing none or just 10% of their IT has fallen dramatically – respectively, to 9% (13% in 2015) and 19% (26% in 2015).

CIOs and IT leaders can play a leading role in enabling digital innovation, drawing on skills from insightful partners to help shape their businesses and lead their sectors through the application of digital technologies.

Those partnerships will allow organisations to release the creativity that runs through their workforces and using digital technology to deliver outstanding results.

Download your copy of the Logicalis CIO Survey 2016 here.

Tags CIO, Digital, CIO Survey