Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey 2020

Explore how leading IT organizations are reacting to COVID-19 impacts.

Steve Bates

Steve Bates

Principal, Global Lead, CIO Center of Excellence, KPMG US

+1 303-295-5524


Now in its 22nd year, the Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey 2020 is the largest IT leadership survey in the world, with over 4,200 responses from CIOs and technology executives across 83 countries. 

Everything changed. Or did it?

This year’s report references both pre-COVID-19 findings as well as during COVID-19 responses. Together they give us a unique insight into the before, during, and continuing aftermath of the pandemic. The survey results reveal what’s changed, what remains constant, and what digital leaders are doing to outpace their rivals in this new reality.

More key findings from the survey

There is no doubting the pandemic’s dramatic effect on almost every aspect of business and life. It exposed a growing digital divide, shifted some priorities, and amplified many of the challenges that the IT organization faced prior to COVID-19.  However, fundamentals also remain, such as the top two priorities for boards: 1) improving operational efficiency; and 2) improving customer engagement—both long-standing priorities of the technology leader. Some IT organizations entered the pandemic better positioned to pivot and scale into new opportunities. These digital leaders1 outperform in every one of five meaningful business measures. 

Findings from this year’s CIO Survey highlights key areas where the pandemic has accelerated the pace of fundamentals in the IT organization: 

Additional IT budget—Global IT leaders reported a median additional spend of 5% of IT budget to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. 

Increased cyber-security threats—More than four in ten (41 percent) of organizations have experienced increased incidents mainly from spear phishing and malware attacks.

Skill shortages, even in a pandemic—For the first time in this survey’s history, cyber-security expertise has become the most in-demand skill set, especially in the cloud and data security space. 

A massive surge in remote working—86% of our respondents have moved their workforce to remote working, and one quarter of technology leaders expect more than half their staff to remain working predominantly from home.

Technology investments—Almost half (47 percent) say the pandemic has permanently accelerated digital transformation and the adoption of emergent technologies.

Mental health is an issue—84 percent of technology leaders report they are concerned about their team’s mental health, and encouragingly, 58 percent have programs put in place to support mental well-being.

Technology leaders feel more influential—Over six in ten respondents agree or strongly agree that their influence has increased as a result of the pandemic. This is not reflected in board membership, however, which for CIOs is down from 71 percent in 2017 to 61 percent now.

Diverse teams promote better business performance—More than two-thirds of organizations feel that being diverse has improved trust and collaboration in the technology team.

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1 Organizations identified in the survey as being very or extremely effective at using digital technologies to advance their business strategy.