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Siemens operates a "Cyber Security Operation Center" to protect factories (Photo: Siemens)

CIOs in German-speaking countries put a high priority on improving data networking and the development of data analysis.

According to a new study, they also prioritize new products and services and the expansion of cloud capacity.

The "IT Trends 2017" survey conducted by consultants Capgemini last September and October in Germany, Switzerland and Austria found that CIOs see a shortage of qualified personnel, inflexible business processes and rigid organizational structures as the biggest hurdles on the way to digitization.

"Digitization clearly is less a technical and much more an organizational challenge," Capgemini Germany CTO Uwe Dumslaff said in a statement.

The study concluded that the trend toward more agile ways of working stalled in the past 12 months. The consultants said this was probably because the new approach was difficult to reconcile with traditional organization models. And they cited problems with staff acceptance of agile work methods.

Fewer companies than the year before also said they were engaged in big-data projects, but Capgemini said this could reflect consolidation in some industry sectors. They cited growing interest in big data overall.

The CIOs polled identified five major trends: cloud security, security automation, BYOx security, privacy by design and predictive analytics. Said Dumslaff: "IT security across the board is the main issue."