Six key areas of focus for CIOs and the IT function

12 February 2024 2 min. read

With digital at the forefront of competitive advantage and innovation, organizations of all sorts and sizes are investing in their digital capabilities. New research pinpoints the six areas of focus that should be on the investment roadmap of any CIO.

In the publication ‘The future of IT’ by KPMG, the researchers explore the future of the IT function, coming with the evident conclusion that IT functions are gaining prominence within organizations as business and operating models pivot to digital, and progress becomes increasingly dependent on information technology.

The report builds on previous research from KPMG, which found that investments in digital transformation are accelerating in the region, and that executives in the Middle East are on the on the front foot when it comes to adopting emerging technologies.

Fadi Al Sheikh, Partner at KPMG in Saudi Arabia

Fadi Al Sheikh, Partner at KPMG in Saudi Arabia

Leading the IT function and broader digital transformation agenda is the Chief Information Officer (CIO), who according to KPMG faces a “highly complex and diverse investment agenda” in 2024. To help CIOs cut through the cutter, KPMG’s researchers have assembled a list of six ‘must invest’ areas for the coming twelve months.

The first is IT consumed as a service, known as XaaS, a trend that is seeing services, products, tools and technologies shift to a ‘as a service’ model. The second is data management, which forms the bedrock of using advanced analytics and emerging AI solutions. Number three is cybersecurity, which remains a key topic for CIOs given the mounting risks of digital intruders.

Fourthly, the severe shortage of vital IT talent calls for innovative solutions for recruitment and retention to drive digital transformation. The fifth area of focus should be on efficiency and process optimization, with IT departments advised to walk the talk and digitize their own processes to operate more efficiently and support organization-wide digitalization efforts.

Lastly, the rise of ESG is urging IT to contribute to decarbonization targets as well, directly through lowering its own footprint (data centers etc), and indirectly through supporting business functions with realizing their targets.

“The future of IT presents exciting opportunities,” said Fadi Al Sheikh, partner at KPMG in Saudi Arabia. “To successfully navigate the dynamic IT landscape, CIOs and IT teams should prioritise mastering six key areas – XaaS, data-centric, resilience-focused, talent incubator, innovation at velocity, and responsible operations.”