Survey: How A Remote Workforce Is Shifting CIO Priorities

What do CIOs care about? Adobe teamed with Fortune to survey more than 200 CIOs in the U.S. in mid-March.

Survey: How A Remote Workforce Is Shifting CIO Priorities

by Giselle Abramovich

Posted on 04-15-2020

What do CIOs care about?

We thought we had answered that question when we published “CIO priorities” in early January of this year. We had no idea that COVID-19 would come along and change our personal and work lives so dramatically.

“Like most business leaders, CIOs now have to rethink priorities, or at least reorder them, and we must reinvent ourselves now as virtual leaders,” said 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 shifted, Adobe teamed with Fortune to survey more than 200 CIOs in the U.S. in mid-March. Most enterprise CIOs (84%) said they are set up to work remotely (94% for SMB CIOs). When it comes to enabling employees to work outside the office, the biggest challenge for most CIOs is communication (53%), although some organizations still face serious shortfalls in technology tools (20%). Interestingly, despite the crisis, half of the CIOs surveyed reported their organizations are still actively hiring—though many anticipated the current situation will slow their hiring cycle (47%).

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Tech Priorities

Cybersecurity, CIOs reported, is a top priority for many organizations, with seven in 10 anticipating increased financial investments, and four in 10 anticipating additional headcount.

Public cloud, infrastructure, and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) also will receive financial boosts in many organizations, but will only result in increased headcount in less than 25% of organizations, according to the report.

Indeed, nearly all CIOs (90%) surveyed said they use a public cloud service for at least some of their data, but most is housed on-premises. Only one in three organizations store half or more of their data in a public cloud.

Additionally, the study found that AI is relatively new for many organizations. Only 50% of enterprise CIOs said they use AI in one or more projects (25% for SMB CIOs). CIOs noted that they use AI for IT and customer support the most.

More than 90% of organizations that have implemented AI have done so in the past year. Respondents reported that the biggest issues related to AI include getting data in order, funding, and finding the right talent.

“We’re making AI a strategic priority at Adobe. AI implementation is difficult for many organizations because it’s still new to most businesses, and there is a shortage in talent that has a deep understanding of it,” Stoddard said.

Women In IT

Despite broad awareness of gender diversity challenges in technology, women are still unrepresented in IT organizations. For the CIOs surveyed, female team members represent a minority of direct reports, slightly over 25%. However, female team members are better represented in both smaller organizations and healthcare organizations.

“Diversity is absolutely table stakes to the success of any company right now, ” Stoddard concluded. “As a women leader in IT, it’s important for me to make time to get to know my team at all levels and mentor others so they can gain exposure to leadership opportunities.”

Topics: CMO by Adobe, Artificial Intelligence, Experience Cloud, Digital Transformation, High Tech, Insights & Inspiration, Trends & Research, Information Technology

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