Do you have what IT takes to be a digital leader?

According to the new report from KPMG and Harvey Nash, CIOs are focusing on innovation and growth, and investing aggressively in digital technology.

Disruptive digital technologies are reshaping the business landscape forcing many organizations to reinvent business models, products, and the way they engage with their customers. But not everyone is equal when it comes to digital transformation, according to just one of the key findings from this year’s Harvey Nash/KPMG Survey of nearly 4,500 technology leaders. In fact, less than one out of five (18%) are very effective at using digital technologies to advance their business strategy.

KPMG/Harvey Nash CIO survey 2017 KPMG/Harvey Nash

In looking more closely at what differentiates businesses that are digital leaders from the rest of the pack, the survey data and anecdotal conversations with technology executives reveals that digital leaders place an emphasis on four key areas:  They are focused on innovation and growth; they are better at aligning business and IT strategy from the front to the back office; they are making aggressive investments in disruptive technologies; and they put a premium on a stable and secure infrastructure.

Focused on innovation and growth

When it comes to key business issues, digital leaders are more focused on innovation and growth. For them, developing innovative new products and services is the No. 1 priority. When addressing a board meeting they are most likely to be discussing digital transformation and disruption strategy - rather than just providing an “IT strategy update”. And, as might be expected, they are more than twice as likely to have an enterprise-wide digital business vision and strategy.

Better at aligning business and IT strategy

One of the perennial challenges for CIOs is to work closely with business stakeholders to ensure that IT strategy is closely aligned with business strategy. This is even more critical when it comes to digital transformation, where business strategies are driving new digital business models, new avenues to connect with customers and employees, and new ways to drive a step change in the cost of business operations. It’s no surprise that digital leaders are more than twice as likely as the others to be very effective at aligning IT and business strategy.

Making aggressive investments in disruptive digital technologies

Cloud serves as the underpinning for much digital disruption because of its quick time to provision, scalability, resilience, and favorable economics. As you might expect, digital leaders are currently making significant investments in cloud across all three delivery models (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS) at rates two to three times higher than non-leaders, and can be expected to maintain their investment lead over the next one to three years -- even as non-leaders try to catch up. Another area where digital leaders are making aggressive investments is in automating processes across the enterprise -- what KPMG calls “digital labor.” When it comes to cognitive automation, digital leaders are currently investing at four times the rate of non-leaders.

Building on a stable and secure infrastructure

Digital leaders recognize that optimizing value from digital transformation requires fully integrating across the front-, middle-, and back-offices. As more business is conducted via digital channels, it increases the risks from system failures or security breaches. Consequently, digital leaders place a premium on getting the basics right and making sure that they are building on a highly resilient infrastructure.

These are just some of the findings from the survey. For further insights, please visit to learn more.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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