Adobe Data: CIO Priorities

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Early this year Adobe published a survey of CIOs’ priorities that delivered valuable insights into their thinking about digital transformation. However, just six months later, we’re in a very different world, and it’s necessary to understand whether and how those priorities are changing.

“Like most business leaders, CIOs now have to rethink priorities, or at least reorder them, and we must reinvent ourselves now as virtual leaders,” says Adobe CIO Cynthia Stoddard. “We’re thinking even more about security due to the rapid shift to so many people working from home, while still working to drive business continuity through these unprecedented times.”

To better understand how CIO priorities have changed as the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, Adobe teamed with Fortune to survey CIOs in mid-March and identify changing demands and focus.

Support for remote work has become essential. This is a critical priority for CIOs. Those organizations that had made prior investments in remote and virtual work technologies have been able to operate more effectively during the crisis. Based on the survey, 84% of businesses are set up to allow employees to work remotely, rising to 94% for SMBs. However, there are challenges to address; 53% of CIOs say communications is still an issue, and 20% don’t have the quality of technology tools in place that they would like to have. The use of “platform” technologies is one of the attractive new options getting attention for remote use. For example, Adobe is helping CIOs bring all their customer data together in Adobe Experience Platform for real-time customer profiling and personalization. This enables marketers to remotely use a single platform for delivering new improvements to the customer experience.

Cyber-security is still a major priority. It only makes sense that, as workers move from an easily controlled corporate environment to their homes, cyber-security issues loom even larger. The survey tells us that 70% of the respondents are increasing budgets or investments in cyber-security. And 40% are currently adding headcount to their SecOps teams. This comes as no surprise; in many cases, these new investments are being made to protect data that is moving out of house for what might be the first time.

Public cloud use stays steady. Remote work is not driving an appreciable uptick in moving data to the public cloud. For many organizations, issues of control, data sovereignty, and flexibility make storing data on-premises attractive. Although the survey says 90% of organizations use public cloud services for storing some data, only about a third store more than half their data on the public cloud.

AI is still a nascent technology. The survey findings highlight a technology that is gaining traction but still has a way to go. Only half of all organizations, and 25% of SMBs, are using AI in one or more projects. Of these, 90% deployed AI in just the last year. The biggest barriers to deployment: scarcity of talent and the need to upgrade data sets.

Adobe’s recent survey of CIO priorities provides many more key insights on how CIOs are reacting to the changes wrought by the pandemic. For more information on the findings of this survey, click here.

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