Zurich CIO Event – Blog

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27 November 2018

Held at the Park Hyatt Hotel, Zurich, almost 100 CIOs and technology leaders gathered to hear the results of the 2018 Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey.

Our panel were: 
  • Robert Bornträger, Mentor, F10 FinTech Incubator & Accelerator 
  • Patrick Hunger, CEO, Saxo Bank 
  • Susanne Erkens-Reck, Global Head Group Functions, IT Roche 
  • Michael Dahlweid, CTO, Inselspital 
  • Damir Bogdan, Digital & Innovation advisor 
  • Prof. Dr. Walter Brenner, Institute of Information Management at the University of St.Gallen

6 things we learnt last night...

  1. IT Investment is growing. More IT leaders are enjoying budget increases than we have seen in the last thirteen years of reporting, driven by investment in digital, cloud as well as a focus on security and privacy.
  2. Shadow IT is growing. Not all of IT budget growth is controlled by the CIO. This year's report shows another jump in the business taking direct control for IT - now 44% of organisations have at least 10% of their IT spend outside the control of the CIO. And this is probably an underestimate, as you don't know what you don't know. 
  3. Trust - the new battleground. The two priorities that rose most in the board's focus were security and compliance, reflecting increasing concern from both the board and CIO around how customer data is handled. 
  4. Digital strategies are beginning to pay off. For many companies the 'theory' of digital is now tuning into reality - 61% of organisations with Very/Extremely effective digital strategies report greater revenue growth than competitors, and are gaining market share.
  5. Digital leaders do 3 things very well. (1) They focus on the customer (2) Their employees live and breath their digital strategy (3) IT acts as an enabler, rather than enforcer, giving the business the 'oxygen to breath'
  6. The transformational CIO. The incessant rise of shadow IT, the explosive growth of the Chief Digital Officer role and changing nature of technology have removed many of the certainties that previously fuelled the importance of the CIO role. But for many this is proving to be a unique opportunity. Successful CIOs are swapping control for influence, focusing on the customer and finding new ways to deliver value. Exciting times.



Topics covered by panel discussion:

  • Innovation

There was much discussion around how smaller companies and startups have a fundamentally different approach to innovation. Large companies plan and ‘model’ it, smaller ones just get on and do it through experimentation.

  • Immune system
For many organisations with long established structures and systems the reaction to digital is similar to an immune system - find the problem, localise it, fix it, then return the system back to its original way of working. For many organisations it results in a wave of mobile apps, social media strategies and innovation plans. But digital is much more fundamental than that. For many it’s a change in the actual body itself, not just a ‘fix’.

  • Budgets
Budgets are rising. The audience were asked if they had seen budget increases in the last year - over half had, affirming what the Survey has reported globally. 
Focus on customer. Although budgets are increasing overall, the investment is not evenly spread across the IT estate. Panellists reported a greater focus on customer focused and innovation led technology, rather than the traditional ‘back office’ IT.

  • Happiness
Happy? Swiss Technology leaders are generally very happy in their role, and yet they lag behind their European peers in salary rises. Maybe for Swiss tech leaders, money is not quite as important, or maybe they are less good at negotiating!
Closing the gap. There are also hints from the Survey that Swiss organisations are a little behind on innovation, however there is evidence this gap is decreasing.