Tech spending cuts despite saving the working world

CIOs say investment in technology paid off when Covid-19, however less investment expected for the next normal.

More than 80pc of CIOs in Europe and Ireland rate their IT performance as good or better following successful Covid-19 transitions.

Responding to a PwC survey of 150 CIOs, 80pc expressed satisfaction with their organisations’ IT performance. However, while respondents are clearly shifting from survival mode to long term strategy, the survey reveals that there is likely to be less IT investment in the future.

“Covid-19 has put a spotlight on how critical the role of technology is within organisations. More investment in digital is needed not less”

Around 36pc of Irish CIOs are planning for less investment in IT in the near future.

Eighty-nine percent of organisations moved their staff to work-from-home arrangements within a 5-day timeframe; 72% of these moved within 3 days. Not surprisingly, given those statistics, 84pc of CIOs rate their IT performance as good or better (Ireland: 86pc). 

Digital opportunities and threats

The top digital “new normal” priorities for CIOs include improving resilience in cybersecurity and privacy (54pc) and investing in digital customer experience (55pc).

PwC Ireland’s technology consulting leader David Lee said that CIOs are shifting emphasis from tactical, operational solutions to long-term digital strategies supported by the entire business. They are looking outwards for digital opportunities, while cognisant of associated risks.

“It is now time for companies and organisations to shift the focus from survival mode to accelerating real digital transformation to help with those relentless challenges of cybersecurity, and what customers are now looking for online,” said Lee.

Covid-19 was the ultimate acid test for CIOs

As the dust settles and employers plot a return to offices for some or long-term home working for others, 41pc of CIOs said they were planning a reduction in IT investment in 2020 and beyond (Ireland: 36%).

A large majority (75pc) said they would reduce this investment by more than 20pc. This was similar in PwC’s recent survey of Irish chief finance officers where 37pc reported to be planning a reduction in digital investment, and significantly more than global counterparts (18pc).

“Covid-19 has put a spotlight on how critical the role of technology is within organisations. More investment in digital is needed not less,” said Robert Byrne, partner at PwC’s Technology Consulting group.

“And particularly, with the move to remote working and the surge in online, companies who do not invest will be at a competitive disadvantage. More than ever the technology strategy needs to be aligned to enable the overall business strategy,” Byrne added.

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 14 July, 2020