CIOs increasingly look for skills outside organisation

07 July 2015

More and more CIOs are looking outside their organisation for the needed technology skills, research by KPMG and Harvey Nash shows. More than half of companies are experiencing a skills gap, with the demand for big data skills especially up, and almost half of CIOs plans to outsource more in 2015. The research also shows that larger companies are less keen on outsourcing than their smaller peers.

In their CIO Survey 2015, titled ‘Into an age of disruption’, KPMG and Harvey Nash explore different aspects of digital innovation and its foreseen effect on companies and their methods of dealing with the disruption. The research, for which the companies surveyed of 3,691 technology leaders, shows that more and more CIOs (Chief Information Officers) are using outsourcers to fill the technology skills gap.

Technology skills shortage

More than half (59%) of CIOs is experiencing a technology skills gap, preventing them to keep up with digital innovations, up from the 45% who reported this skills shortage in 2013. Especially the demand for big data analytic skills has increased significantly (up 11.8%) and is now the number one concern of CIOs, skyrocketing to almost six times higher than change management, the second most sought-after skill. “What’s most striking about the results is the speed of change. […] We have never seen demand for a skill expand so quickly as we have for big data analytics,” comments Albert Ellis, CEO of Harvey Nash Group.

Skills that suffer from shortage

On the other side of the spectrum, the research shows that shortages for enterprise and technical architecture skills have fallen, with 7.8% and 6.5% respectively. As have those for business analysis (-4%), mobile solutions (-2.8%) and social media (-2.7%).

To deal with the skills shortage, many CIOs are now using outsourcers, with a majority either planning to increase (46%) or maintain (36%) their current outsourcing spend in 2015. The main reasons for companies to outsource in the past five years are connected to skills, with half saying that closing the skills gap and freeing up resources have become more important to outsourcing. Outsourcing to save money has seen the smallest change in the past five years, followed by improving the ability to innovate.

Growth areas for outsourcing

The research shows that the reasons to outsource vary between the different company sizes. While for both small companies and large companies, which struggle to keep up with digital innovation, the main reason to outsource is to ‘free up resources’, at 56% and 44% respectively, for mid-sized companies, the main reason is to provide the skills needed (at 52%). Large companies are less eager to outsource, with CIOs less willing to outsource for any of the given reasons than their peers at smaller companies. Only outsourcing to save money proves to be more important for large companies (30%) than for small (26%) and mid-sized (25%) companies.

Differences behind outsourcing decision-making


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