By Catherine Morin
The sudden shift to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic has altered CIO priorities, a recent Adobe survey revealed.
The study, conducted in March with over 200 CIO respondents in the United States, highlights the most significant priorities and challenges facing IT leaders in the pandemic context.
The area of cybersecurity is a major CIO priority, with 70 per cent of organizations planning to increase their investments in security technology, the survey found.
“We’re thinking even more about security due to the rapid shift to so many people working from home, while still trying to drive business continuity,” noted Adobe CIO, Cynthia Stoddard, in a blog post.
In this new remote-work world, cloud computing is also getting much attention from CIOs. Around 90 per cent of respondents said they use a public cloud service, but most data is saved on-premises. Only one in three businesses store half or more of their data in a public cloud.
The study also found that artificial intelligence (AI) is still new to many organizations. Only half of CIOs said they leverage AI for one or more projects, and over 90 per cent of enterprises that have implemented AI have done so in the past year.
Respondents noted that they mainly use AI for customer and IT support. The most significant issues linked to AI include funding, finding talent and getting data in order.
“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 pointed out.
Regarding the COVID-19 response, 84 per cent of businesses consider they are set up to work remotely. Challenges for CIOs when it comes to enabling employees to work from home include communication (53 per cent) and shortfalls in technology equipment (20 per cent).
Half of the organizations surveyed are still actively hiring, but 47 per cent expect the pandemic to slow down their hiring cycle.
Finally, despite broad awareness of diversity challenges in the tech industry, women are still unrepresented in many enterprises. Out of the CIOs surveyed, female team members represent slightly over 25 per cent of direct reports.
However, women are better represented in smaller businesses and healthcare organizations.
Stoddard, who encourages CIOs to reinvent themselves as virtual leaders in this new era, noted that diversity is now critical to the success of any company.