CIOs reveal industry insights in live polls at the Pitch Fest


CIOs answered questions on reporting structure, retaining and developing talent and the state of IT systems.

CIO South Africa recently hosted the first-ever CIO South Africa Pitch Parade, an evening filled with chuckles, scrumptious food and networking. Renowned comedian Loyiso Madinga was the MC.

As part of the programme, CIO South ran live polls in which CIOs were asked to vote on burning questions using their phones.

First dilemma: The Spaghetti

The first question was “Who is your CISO reporting to?” 32 percent of those who voted said their CISOs report to the CIO. On who their CISO should be reporting to, 37 percent chose CIO.

The next question, which asked who their CIO is reporting to, resulted in a whopping 41 percent of voters opting for the CEO. A staggering 59 percent said the CIO should be reporting to the CEO.

Second dilemma: Brain Drain

Attendees were also asked who they are losing key IT members to and the majority said to competitors. Opportunities abroad was the second most popular answer to the question on brain drain. The minority said they were losing their IT members because they had decided to open their own businesses.

On the question of how to retain IT talent, most voters said by offering career paths with purpose and growth. The second most popular answer was to improve culture and EVP.

Another question on brain drain was on how companies are making sure that they have great IT skills, the majority said by growing their own talent, while the second most popular answer was hiring the best IT professionals.

CIO South Africa’s managing editor Reabetswe Rabaji invited Josh Souchon, group CIO at Sasfin, and Antionette Wagner, CIO at Deloitte, onto the stage to comment on the poll results .

Antionette said at Deloitte they focus on developing and creating career paths. “We are not scared of brain drain. I think that is important – bringing in talent and developing young IT professionals,” she said.

Josh said at Sasfin they tackle brain drain by bringing in an additional 15 percent of staff on a graduate programme to grow internal talent. “To those who say they want to go work overseas, we are saying it's fine – go overseas but work for us. We’ve allowed high performers who want to work overseas to go,” he said.

The challenge they were not able to solve, he said, was getting people who work overseas to work for them.

On how to grow talent, Josh said leadership development was fundamental in IT. “It’s not just about management, it’s about leadership.”

Third dilemma: The legacy Monster

The next round of questions was on the legacy monster and the first question was “Is your IT outdated?” Here 15 percent of respondents said they had state-of-the-art IT, while 11 percent said “It still works, but for how long?”. On how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected their companies’ appetite for IT investment, a resounding 32 percent of voters said it sped it up.

Nkosenhle Ngongoma, group CIO at Ascendis Health, and Faith Burn, CIO at Eskom, were also invited on stage to comment on the poll results.

Nkosenhle said they had companies under their stable that had the best technology and those that had the worst IT systems. “We as CIOs and IT managers use Elastoplast in a lot of the systems we run just to get them running,” he said.

According to Faith, Eskom is in the process of updating its IT systems. With regards to investments, it's pretty much the same at my organisation. Security, agility, flexibility are all crucial areas for us," she said.

Related articles