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Amid COVID-19, CIOs Prioritize Cybersecurity, Cloud, AI

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the top concerns of enterprise CIOs, who are now prioritizing their spending on areas such as cybersecurity, public cloud, infrastructure and AI/ML.

That's according to a new survey from Adobe, who teamed up with Fortune to measure "How A Remote Workforce Is Shifting CIO Priorities."

"Amid the uncertainty of COVID-19, the role of the CIO has become even more critical as this group works quickly to minimize disruption to their business while also moving to a remote workforce," a spokesperson for Adobe told Virtualization & Cloud Review.

CMO by Adobe, which produces advice, guidance, data and research to senior business leaders, conducted a mid-March survey of more than 200 CIOs to gauge shifting attitudes subsequent to a pre-pandemic January post about CIO priorities.

Although security was (and always is) a top-of-mind concern in both survey efforts, cloud computing is now getting more attention in a remote-work world. However, while most organizations use the cloud, that usage may be increasing in the new world order.

"Public cloud, infrastructure, and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) also will receive financial boosts in many organizations, but will only result in increased headcount in less than 25 percent of organizations," Adobe said after noting the cybersecurity concerns of CIOs.

"Indeed, nearly all CIOs (90 percent) surveyed said they use a public cloud service for at least some of their data, but most is housed on-premises. Only one in three organizations store half or more of their data in a public cloud."

Other top takeaways from the report as listed by Adobe include:

  • COVID-19 Response: Most organizations feel they are set up to work remotely (84 percent of all organizations and 94 percent of smaller organizations), but challenges for CIOs include communication (53 percent) and shortfalls in technology tools (20 percent). Half of the firms are still actively hiring, but 47 percent anticipate an impact on their hiring cycle.
  • Women Still Underrepresented: Female team members represent a minority of CIOs’ direct reports (slightly over 1 in 4). There is a higher proportion of female team members in smaller organizations and in healthcare organizations.
  • Focus on Cyber Security Investments: 7 in 10 organizations anticipate increased financial investments in this area. Public cloud, infrastructure and AI/machine learning will also receive financial boosts in many organizations.
  • AI Still Fairly New: Only 50 percent of organizations use AI in one or more projects (and only 25 percent of SMBs), with CIOs noting they leverage AI for IT and customer support the most. More than 90 percent of those that have implemented AI have only done so in the past year. Top challenges faced when implementing AI are around data and funding/talent.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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