Greater China CIOs embracing AI and automation

CIOs from Greater China have made AI and automation top priorities (Image from2015 / iStockPhoto)

CIOs across Greater China have made leveraging the power of automation and AI among their top priorities, according to a global survey.

The 2018 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey found that improving efficiencies through automation has emerged as one of the top priorities for CIOs in China, along with improving business processes and increasing operational efficiencies.

Nearly half of respondents also identified improving insights and decision making through AI as a key business priority, compared to just 22% globally.

Likewise, 30% of surveyed China CIOs indicates that they are planning to invest in robotic process automation, compared to 18% globally. Nearly half are already investing in AI and machine learning, with an additional 26% planning investments in these areas.

Meanwhile 70% of China CIOs expect their IT budgets to increase over the next 12 months, significantly above the global average of 48%.

But the nation's CIOs are also feeling the impact of ICT skills shortages more acutely than their global peers. Some 87% of surveyed China CIOs feel that skills shortages are preventing their organisations from keeping up with the pace of change.

Accordingly nearly two thirds of China CIOs expect to increase their IT headcount in the next 12 months, up from just 38% in 2017. The most in-demand skills include big data and analytics, AI and technical architecture.

“CIOs are of increasing strategic importance to the business, particularly in China where the business landscape is rapidly evolving,” commented Adam Stuckert, a partner for KMPG China's IT advisory.

“Embracing innovation is key to success; CIOs need to position digital as both a business transformation accelerator and revenue generator.”