Increased security concerns are leading boards of directors to prioritize cybersecurity and compliance. The 2018 KPMG/Harvey Nash CIO survey reported that 23% more companies have upped their security focus from last year. The survey also found that focusing on managing operational risk and compliance was up 12% from last year.

While the number of IT leaders concerned with network safety has increased 71% from last year, only 22% said they felt prepared for a cyberattack. The survey reported that 78% of CIOs defined their cybersecurity system as only “moderately effective.”

This increased concern also creates a demand for employees that can be hard to find. Some 35% of those surveyed reported that they couldn’t hire people with the kind of digital skills called for. Additionally, 9% said that their company had almost no clear digital vision at all.

SEE: IT budget research 2018: Funding and spending priorities (Tech Pro Research)

The struggle with technology disruption is one that KPMG principal Denis Berry said is based on integrating digital into the company’s core processes.

“What tends to hold technology leaders back is the lack of trust in relying on digital to guide decisions,” Berry said in the release. “This disconnect is largely due to the absence of proper talent who fully understand how the technology can drive the business strategy. Companies who can source the right skills and establish a clear digital vision will be the ones who will benefit the most from these opportunities.”

A drive toward employees with “security and resilience skills” created the largest jump in skill shortages with a 25% increase. As noted in a previous report by Osterman Research and Trustwave, 57% of businesses can’t find enough IT security staff.

However, for the fourth year in a row, big data and analytics skills remain as the no. 1 most needed skill. Some 65% of those surveyed reported that the shortages were keeping them from properly leveraging their firm’s data assets. Studies have shown that data scientist is one of the most sought after and well-paid tech jobs.

The report also showed an increased need for a chief digital officer (CDO). The survey found that organizations with a CDO were twice as likely to have a clear digital strategy than those without one– 44% vs. 21%.

Female IT leadership was also touched on in the report, which noted that it is on an uphill trend, albeit a slower one. According to the survey, women hold 12% of IT leadership roles, up 10% from last year. Women occupy 21% of tech teams.

According to the report, opinions on the lack of diversity in the workplace differ. Some 24% were reported to believe that diversity and inclusion had little to do with achieving business or technology goals, whereas 47% said it had some impact, and 30% said it affected business and tech goals greatly.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • To keep pace with digital transformation, boards of directors at many companies are prioritizing cybersecurity skills, and operational risk and compliance.
  • The tech talent shortage is one major barrier to digital transformation success, with security and analytics skills in high demand.