Tech Quarterly

Essential CIO insights from Q4 20

In this Tech Quarterly

COVID-19 still looms large for organisations, but research shows that it has created a catalyst for accelerated digital transformation that could be an opportunity for CIOs to seize. This is supported by evidence that more companies are now searching for digitally savvy CIOs after finding out their previous efforts fell short as they scrambled to respond to the pandemic. And one CIO shows there is life beyond the IT department as his startup hit the $1 billion unicorn valuation.

5 minute read

Andy McCue

Andy McCue

Senior Editor

November 18, 2020 7:31 pm

1. ‘Brisk’ CIO job market bounces back as pandemic forces companies to double down on digital

While many companies pulled the plug on hiring new CIOs at the start of the pandemic, recruitment companies say the market has bounced back since April, with new searches at a historic high. But recruiters also warn that those CIOs who didn’t shine during the pandemic response are being invited to pursue employment elsewhere.

2. How can CIOs prepare for 12 months of uncertainty ahead?

Five IT leaders talk about how they plan to navigate the uncertain and stormy waters ahead. In this Computer Weekly article, Jamie Broadbent at RBS International says COVID-19 crystallised, almost overnight, the things that mattered most: “It made us accelerate those important things and stop the elements that didn’t matter… That’s been a great exercise and I hope that we never go back.”

3. How one CIO rebuilt his city’s IT after a major cyberattack

Picture the scene. You’re one month into your new role as the CIO of a major US city when you’re hit by a ransomware attack. That’s what happened to Atlanta’s CIO Gary Brantley. The attack took more than one-third of Atlanta’s 424 software programs fully or partially offline. Speaking at the Gartner IT Symposium, Brantley talked about how – in the aftermath – he returned to operational basics with clear accountability and embarked on a major application rationalisation programme.

4. Former Tesla CIO’s startup turns unicorn

Proving that CIO definitely doesn’t stand for ‘career is over’, former Tesla CIO Jay Vijayan’s startup has turned unicorn with $150 million in new private equity funding, raising its valuation over the magic $1 billion mark. Tekion is a cloud-based automotive retail startup that connects manufacturers, dealers and car buyers for vehicles powered by AI and machine learning.

5. CIOs must ‘seize the moment’

CIOs now have the attention of the CEO following the support for remote work that the COVID-19 pandemic brought on, according to analyst Gartner’s annual CIO Agenda survey of almost 2,000 IT leaders. Gartner warns that “CIOs must seize this moment, because they may never get another opportunity like it.” The survey also reveals that nine out of ten top performing companies are pursuing digital channels and almost three-quarters are now introducing digital products faster.

6. The more things change: Cybersecurity threats and skills shortages still top CIO priorities

Increased cybersecurity threats, skills shortages (particularly in cloud and data security), a massive surge in remote working and accelerated investment in digital transformation and emerging technologies all feature in the 22nd annual Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO survey for 2020. With responses from more than 4,200 IT leaders, this year’s survey also reveals that CIO board membership fell from 71 per cent in 2017 to 61 per cent. However, Harvey Nash notes that this might be due to other IT leadership roles such as CTO or CDO being elevated to the board, as only 10 per cent of organisations said they had no tech leadership representation on the board.

7. Companies implemented pandemic remote working in an average of just 11 days

A new survey by McKinsey & Co. claims COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point and transformed business forever. And when asked about remote working, respondents said their companies moved 40 times more quickly than they thought possible before the pandemic – taking an average of 11 days to achieve what would have taken more than a year.

8. IT budgets to increase again in 2021

After a dip in 2020, worldwide IT spending is forecast to rise again in 2021. Analyst Gartner’s latest forecast projects IT investment to hit $3.8 trillion in 2021, up 4 per cent from 2020. Spending in 2020 is expected to total $3.6 trillion, down 5.4 per cent from 2019. “While there have been unique stressors imposed on all industries as the ongoing pandemic unfolds, the enterprises that were already more digital going into the crisis are doing better and will continue to thrive going into 2021,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner.

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