Swiss IT executives on a cost-cutting mission | KPMG | CH

Swiss IT executives on a cost-cutting mission

Swiss IT executives on a cost-cutting mission

Companies around the world are faced with the challenge of keeping pace with ever-accelerating advances in digital technology. The hot topic in Switzerland is cost optimization. The latest Harvey Nash CIO Survey conducted in cooperation with KPMG revealed these and more insights.


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Digital innovations are currently dominating executives’ agendas yet issues such as innovation management and the shortage of specialists are also playing a major role around the globe whereas Swiss IT managers are placing much more importance on the aspect of cost optimization than their colleagues abroad.

Large corporations have some catching up to do

While two thirds of the chief information officers (CIO) around the world consider the digital revolution to be an extremely significant change, only one in ten thinks that his or her company will remain unaffected by it over the next few years. The digital transformation is forcing companies to come up with new business models and launch new products and services on the market at an increasingly rapid pace. This international survey has revealed that large corporations feel they have some catching up to do in terms of digital technologies and only 17% think they are managing the digital revolution “much better” than their competitors. This was the response given by 35% of SMEs around the globe.

Broad-based responsibility for digital strategies

The survey reveals that the role of chief digital officer (CDO) is continuing to gain ground. 17% of all CIOs are now working together with a CDO, compared to just 7% last year. Another 5% of those surveyed indicated that they were planning to hire a CDO in the coming months. The CDO’s precise role, however, is something that varies quite strongly from one company to another. Of those with a CDO, just under half (47%) have entrusted that person with full responsibility for the digital strategy.

A trend seen between 2012 and 2014 has since reversed: The number of companies where the marketing department bears sole responsibility for the digital strategy has fallen to 24%, down from 40% last year. Conversely, the number of companies whose IT departments are in charge of digital issues has risen to 18%. That means IT departments have nearly twice as much influence as they did last year. The intensity of the relationship between the CIO and the marketing department has also been stepped up: 33% of those surveyed describe it as “very close” whereas only 30% responded similarly last year. The relationship is strongest at companies where the IT and marketing departments share responsibility for the digital strategy. 41% of the CIOs in these companies referred to their collaboration as “very close”.

Cybercrime exposure on the rise

At 61%, boosts in efficiency topped the list of operational priorities. Compared to last year, however, the areas of business intelligence and analytics made the largest leap on the list: Nearly half of the CIOs named this as their topmost priority (+5.7%) this year.

In terms of risks, cybercrime was revealed to pose a very real threat.One of four CIOs around the world reported that they had experienced major IT security incidents over the past twelve months. And the challenges are growing: Only 23% of the respondents say that they are “very well” prepared to face this threat, which represents a 6% decrease compared to the previous year.

Greater cost pressure in Switzerland

Six of ten CIOs (62%) in Switzerland put a priority on cost cutting in 2015, a figure that is significantly higher than the global average of 17%. 59% of CIOs in Switzerland named operational efficiencies as a priority in 2015. Compared against the global average, however, Switzerland’s CIOs are less focused on strategic alignment. While the chances of an increased headcount are lower in Switzerland, the likelihood that a Swiss CIO has a chief digital officer on his or her side are on a par with the global average.

Prafull Sharma, Head of CIO Advisory at KPMG Switzerland, had the following to say about the survey’s results: “Both in Switzerland and across the rest of the world, CIOs expect the transformation to progress rapidly and growth in the demand for CDOs and big data specialists to remain strong.” 

About the Harvey Nash CIO Survey 2015

A wealth of data was collected between 6 January and 19 April 2015 within the scope of the Harvey Nash CIO Survey 2015 conducted in cooperation with KPMG. The CIO Survey reflects the opinions expressed by 3,691 IT executives from more than 50 countries and who are responsible for more than USD 200 billion in IT expenditures. 33% of those surveyed identified themselves as CIOs, 9% as chief technology officers and 32% as directors or vice presidents of IT. The other 26% held positions as CEO, COO, CDO or other roles in senior management.

© 2017 KPMG Holding AG is a member of the KPMG network of independent firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss legal entity. All rights reserved.

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