HK CIO survey: Cloud adoption matures; infosec remains top challenge

CIO Agenda Survey 2017 (Source: Hong Kong Computer Society, PolyU)Cloud implementation has become one of the top 10 items on the CIO agenda to drive business innovation, but cloud security remains a key concern, according to the results of a joint study by Hong Kong Computer Society CIO Board and PolyU's Institute of Advanced Executive Education Digital Leadership Programme.

In March 2017, HKCS' CIO Board and PolyU's Institute of Advanced Executive Education Digital Leadership Programme jointly conducted a study on the Hong Kong CIO agenda.

Titled "Hong Kong CIO Agenda 2017," the study was conducted on the 25 members of HKCS CIO Board, which represents the public sector, utilities, transport and logistics, manufacturing and engineering, as well as financial services. (See the list of CIO Board members here.) Despite the small sample size, the total IT expenditure accounted for over 25% of the total IT spending in Hong Kong.

The study comprised four parts: top 10 CIO priorities, top 10 CIO technology priorities, top 10 CIO challenges, as well as IT expenditures. This article will place special focus on the CIOs' views on cloud computing.

Cloud enters top CIO agenda

"There were no big surprises for the top 10 CIO Agenda items," said Daniel Lai, chief investigator of the study. "As expected, information security, talents shortage, BI/analytics, and mobility are made it to the list. It is also pleasing to see local CIOs are regard innovation, artificial intelligence, and DevOps as important."

Formerly the government CIO of the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, Lai is now professor of Practice (Computing) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), as well as programme director of CoolThink@JC.

Particularly on cloud computing, the respondent CIOs ranked "implementing cloud computing services and solutions" as the 8th most important item on the CIO agenda, behind implementing DevOps, BI/analytics and mobility.

Concerning information security, 100% of the respondents included it on their list of top 10 agenda items: with 14% ranked this as the top priority, 28% ranked it as the second priority, and 14% ranked it as the third priority.

As chief investigator, how far have Hong Kong CIOs passed through the primary cloud adoption barrier -- cloud security? "Most CIOs are still conservative on cloud security," said Lai. "They prefer traditional systems configuration for more secured services."

The third item on the CIO agenda, after addressing IT talent shortage and addressing information security, is "encouraging innovation," with 21% of the respondents ranked it as their top priority. According to Lai, "innovation" has become part of CIO's responsibilities.

To a certain extent, Lai said cloud service and solutions are increasingly being used as a means to drive business innovation in Hong Kong. "This is especially notable among smaller organizations and start-ups. An example of which is the delivery of internet of things using public cloud services."

There are a few items that none of the respondents included in their top 10 items on the CIO agenda, one of which was "data center outsourcing." In response to this, Lai said "the absence of 'data center outsourcing' on the list does not mean the CIOs are not outsourcing their data center operations. Instead, it may be of a lessor issue to the CIOs, or it could be the case that the CIOs have taken it for granted as business as usual."