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Global Political and Economic Uncertainty Create a New Breed of Digital Innovators, Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey Finds

SYDNEY - May 23, 2017 - Despite two-thirds (62 percent) of organizations adapting their technology strategy because of unprecedented global political and economic uncertainty, 93 percent are maintaining or ramping up investment in innovation, including in digital labour. More than half (57 percent) are investing in more nimble technology platforms to help their organization innovate and adapt.

This is according to the 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, the world's largest survey of IT leadership. While economic uncertainty is making business planning difficult for many organizations, it is clear digital strategies have infiltrated businesses across Australia at an entirely new level. The proportion of organizations surveyed that have enterprise-wide digital strategies increased 21 percent in just two years, and those organizations with a Chief Digital Officer have increased 40 percent over last year.

Cyber security vulnerability is at an all-time high, with a third of IT leaders (31 percent) reporting their organization had been subject to a major cyber-attack in the past 24 months - a 107 percent increase from 2014. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) say they are "very well" prepared to respond to these attacks, down from 29 percent in 2016. Despite very visible headline-grabbing attacks such as the recent WannaCry ransomware attack, the biggest jump in threats comes from insider attacks, increasing from 30 percent to 54 percent over last year.

"Making a success of technology is becoming increasingly complex," said Bridget Gray, Managing Director Harvey Nash Australia. "A new breed of digital innovators are evolving who are turning uncertainty into opportunity. The IT leaders who will succeed are the ones who can deal with this ambiguity, working across multi discipline teams to a common goal. At the same time they also need to have an firm control of the infrastructure, ensuring the organisation is secure and adaptable for the future. It's a tough job, but the CIOs who are getting this balance right are becoming increasingly important to their organisation."

"Successful organisations understand that delivering great digital service to their customers requires much more than an intuitive digital user experience", said Guy Holland, KPMG Australia's Head of Digital Consulting. "The businesses we see as Digital Leaders are investing in transforming every facet of their organisation, from front to back, from capability to culture, to align behind their digital promise".

Now in its 19th year, the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey is the largest IT leadership survey in the world. Additional findings from the survey include:

Australian CIO influence does not grow as quickly as global CIO

  • 59% of CIOs say the role is getting more strategic, less than the global average of 71 percent
  • Tied with this, CIOs who are "very fulfilled" in their role is at a three-year low - falling from 41 percent in 2015 to 31 percent this year.
  • That said, 79% percent of CIOs joined a Board meeting in the past 12 months.

Big data/analytics remains the most in-demand skill

  • While the fastest growing demand for a technology skill this year security and resilience, big data/analytics remained the most in-demand skill at 48 percent, up 30 percent over last year.

Complex IT projects - increase risk of failure monumentally

  • Two thirds (61 percent) of CIOs say IT projects are more complex than they were five years ago, and over-optimistic expectations (49 percent), poor governance or project management (36 percent), and unclear objectives (36 percent) are the main reasons IT projects fail.
  • Over a quarter (27 percent) of CIOs say that a lack of project talent is the cause of project failure, but project management skills are absent from the CIOs top list of technology skills needed in 2017, dropping a staggering 28 percent in one year.

About the Survey
The 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey is the largest IT leadership survey in the world in terms of number of respondents. The survey of 4,498 CIOs and technology leaders (174 based in Australia) was conducted between December 19, 2016 and April 3, 2017, across 86 countries.

About Harvey Nash
Harvey Nash has helped over half the world's leading companies recruit, source and manage the highly skilled talent they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive, global and technology driven world. With over 7,000 experts in more than 40 offices across Europe, Asia and the USA, we have the reach and resources of a global organization, whilst fostering a culture of innovation and agility that empowers our people across the world to respond to constantly changing client needs. We work with clients, both large and small, to deliver a portfolio of services: executive search, professional recruitment and IT outsourcing.

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About KPMG International
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and have 189,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.


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

Michelle Smith

Harvey Nash
+44 (20) 7333 2677

Amy Greenshields
KPMG International
+1 416 777 8749