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The London Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Event

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

UpScale was fortunate to be a part of an audience put together by Harvey Nash and KPMG to discuss the world's largest survey of IT leadership. Beautifully set in the Ham Yard Hotel, hidden behind Soho, the evening commenced with drinks and networking. Much was discussed throughout the evening, but the overarching common theme running across the evening was that everyone is excited by what technology is doing for businesses.

"There has never been a more exciting time to be in technology. We have a liquid workforce...I need people from university, and I also need people who remember COBOL...my older staff don't want to leave, they often just want to work less hours. A blended workforce is a good thing to have.

While economic uncertainty is making business planning difficult for many organizations, it is clear digital strategies have infiltrated businesses across the globe at an entirely new level. The proportion of organizations surveyed that have enterprise-wide digital strategies increased 52 percent in just two years, and those organizations with a Chief Digital Officer have increased 39 percent over last year. To help deliver these complex digital strategies, organizations also report a huge demand for Enterprise Architects - the fastest growing technology skill this year, up 26 percent compared to 2016. The event signed off with panel insights, chaired by CEO of Harvey Nash and included:

  • Paul Coby, CIO, John Lewis Partnership
  • Jane Moran, Global CIO, Unilever
  • Lloyd Price, Co-founder, Zesty
  • Simon McCalla, CTO, Nominet

Lloyd Price (Co-Founder of Zesty): "Uber before you get Kodak'd. A lot of companies don't get close enough to their customers. Uber started with high-end limos but were agile enough to change their model to stay in business."

The final curtain closed on the panel touching on interesting insights on the cost of innovation, what digital leadership looks like and how this might change moving forward and how uncertainty in the sector is creating opportunity.

Unsurprisingly, all of the panel continued to confirm that there still exists a skills shortage. In each of the last four years, around 60 per cent of respondents have reported skills shortages. UpScale has been designed with championing underrepresented groups and we were pleased to see that gender diversity remains at the forefront of what companies are thinking about.

In short, progress remains slow. The improvement we saw last year seems to have petered out. While a third of IT leaders have diversity initiatives in place, there has been little, if any, movement in the last five years. Barely 10 per cent of IT leaders are female.

The evening was indeed about 'navigating uncertainty'!

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