Eight years ago, American venture capitalist Marc Andreessen famously declared ‘software is eating the world’. Today, for most Australia organisations we can say that technology investment is poised to tuck into its main course.
The 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, the largest technology leadership survey in the world, shows business-led IT is creating more value for Australian organisations than ever before. But at the same time, the pursuit of this value brings increased pressure on governance, especially for critical areas like cyber and data security.
The challenge for businesses looking to survive dinner is how to strike a balance between business opportunity and risk when it comes to technology. And for the traditional custodians of tech knowledge and systems – the CIO – their role as a change enabler is becoming more vital than ever.
Thankfully, they are being given the ingredients they need.
This year, more Australian technology leaders reported increases in IT budgets under their control than at any time in the last 15 years.
In my view there are three key pressure points driving this technology investment. Firstly, the rapid emergence of agile startups who are leapfrogging legacy business models and systems to give customers what they want – faster, better and cheaper.
Secondly, the breakneck pace of evolution of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of things (IoT). And finally, the need for organisations to capture and deploy data and insight to improve their customer interface. Any business that considers reducing its investment in technology and innovation in today’s environment, does so at its own peril.
However, investment alone will not help. It needs to be smart, well-informed investment. Nearly three-quarters (70 percent) of organisations across Australia now allow technology to be managed outside the IT department. And while the influence of the CIO largely remains intact (65 percent this year view the role as gaining influence compared to 62 percent in 2018), as many four in ten (41 percent) companies in Australia are not formally involving IT in these business-led IT decisions.
There are serious risks to not including IT. Those organisations that do not are twice as likely to have multiple security areas exposed than those who do involve IT. They are 41 percent less likely to be ‘very or extremely effective’ at building customer trust with technology. And 12 percent more likely to have been targeted by a major cyber-attack in the last two years.
Technology has rapidly emerged from the IT department to become the key driver of business strategy. But our research shows the IT team is often excluded, at a great cost to security and governance.
In this world, a holistic approach is key to success. Organisations that put technology in the hands of value-creators while simultaneously connecting the front, middle and back office will be the ones that win in the market. The future of IT is a customer obsessed, well governed, connected enterprise where the CIO and the IT team plays a key role in supporting transformation. As Marc Andreessen alluded to all those years ago, those organisations that get it right will be the one eating their competitors for dinner.