Pace of digital innovation quickens; growing skills shortage holding back APAC region

May 20, 20151:21 pm453 views
Pace of digital innovation quickens; growing skills shortage holding back APAC region
Pace of digital innovation quickens; growing skills shortage holding back APAC region

Harvey Nash CIO Survey reveals big data analytics jumps to No.1 in demand skill, big growth in CDO roles  

Digital innovation is dominating the agenda of technology leaders, but many companies in the Asia-Pacific region are struggling to manage it, according to the global Harvey Nash 2015 CIO Survey in association with KPMG. The survey revealed that despite efforts to close the skills gap, concerns over shortages worldwide are now one third higher than in 2013. This is particularly pertinent in Asia-Pacific; with 71 per cent of CIOs in the region believing a skills shortage is preventing their organisation from keeping up with the pace of change, 12 per cent higher than the global average.

Globally, the survey revealed the demand for big data analytic skills has leapt to the number one most in demand skill, skyrocketing to almost six times higher than the next most scarce skill – change management.  Two thirds (66 per cent) of CIOs report digital disruption [change resulting from digital technologies that disrupt established business models] as a very significant change to business, driving them to create new business models and bring new products and services to market faster than they ever have before. Only one in ten CIOs believe their organisation will be unaffected by digital disruption in the coming years.

The 2015 survey received a record number of responses, from nearly 4,000 IT leaders across more than 50 countries. Capturing more than a quarter of a million data points, it is believed to be the largest survey of IT leadership in the world. The survey findings reveal that CIOs in the region are more likely to have received a pay rise, with 58 per cent having seen an increase in salary over the last year, almost double the global average of 31 per cent. Cyber security is highlighted as a critical business concern in Asia Pacific, with 35 per cent of CIOs having faced a major IT security attack in the last year alone, 10 per cent higher than the global average.

Nick Marsh, Managing Director of Harvey Nash Executive Search APAC, comments: “The most striking thing about the results of the Harvey Nash CIO Survey, is the speed of change.  In the seventeen years we have conducted the survey we have never seen a new role have such an impact as we have the Chief Digital Officer role.  We have never seen demand for a skill increase as quickly as we have for big data analytics.  The power of digital technology is totally transforming the business landscape.  For CIOs with the influence, connections and technical ability, it’s an exciting time to shine.”

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

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

  • The role of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) is growing in importance. 18 per cent of CIOs in the region now work with a CDO, similar to the global average of 17 per cent.  An additional five per cent of respondents said they would hire a CDO in the next several months.
  • The CDO role varies significantly with organisations. Where organisations have CDOs in place, only just under half (47 per cent) have that person taking full leadership of the digital strategy, with the remaining organisations preferring the CIO, CMO or CEO to take the lead.

Top CIO operational priorities

  • Business intelligence and analytics made the biggest jump up the priority list compared to last year, with almost half (47 per cent) setting it as a top priority.
  • Increasing efficiencies topped the list of CIOs’ operational priorities this year, at 61 per cent.
  • Cost-cutting dropped in importance by 16 per cent, compared to 2013.

Women in IT stalemate

  • The lack of women in IT has received significant media and political attention for several years, yet the proportion of women in IT leadership roles remains stagnant year after year.
  • Globally, women in IT leadership positions – CIO, CTO or SVP title – is down two per cent from 2013, reporting in at a mere 6 per cent this year.

CIOs are satisfied

  • Despite the constant challenges, complexities and changes IT leaders face, job satisfaction is climbing towards historic highs – 80 per cent at either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ fulfilled. The proportion of CIOs who plan to move jobs in the next 12 months is 12 per cent, down from 17 per cent in 2014.

CIOs becoming more confident in the role they play in digital

  • Reversing a trend charted in 2012-14, marketing departments that exclusively own digital is down to 24 per cent, from 40 per cent last year. Conversely, the number of IT departments that own digital is on the rise, up to 18 per cent, almost doubling its influence from last year. There has also been a 7 per cent jump in joint ownership between both marketing and IT.
  • Globally, CIOs are enjoying a stronger relationship with marketing this year, with 33 per cent rating it ‘very strong’, up from 30 per cent last year. Where the digital strategy is jointly owned by IT and marketing the relationship is strongest, with 41 per cent of CIOs rating it ‘very strong’.

Accessing skills from outside the organization

  • Half (50 per cent) of CIOs report they are increasingly using outsourcers to supplement skills they can’t find in house; this compares to just 25 per cent of CIOs who are looking to their outsourcers to save them money, suggesting an evolving role for outsourcers.
  • In 2015, six out of seven CIOs will increase their outsourcing spend.
  • Four in ten (41 per cent) of CIOs plan to increase their investment in offshoring this year.

About the Survey

The Harvey Nash CIO Survey 2015, in association with KPMG, collected data between 6th January and 19th April 2015 and represents the views of 3,691 technology leaders from more than 30 countries, with a combined IT spend of over $200bn. Of the respondents, 33 per cent identified themselves as CIOs, 9 per cent as CTOs, 32 per cent as director / VP in technology and the remaining 26 per cent were spread between a broad range of roles including CEO, COO, CDO and senior executives.

For more information about the survey and to request a full copy of the results, please visit or email

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