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The CIO Crystal Ball
23 April 2015

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Before looking forward, let’s look back. In January CIO.com published the results of their annual survey, “The State of the CIO” with 558 IT chiefs contributing their opinions.

Among the survey results—

  • 44% of IT leaders report to the CEO; 64% are consulted by the CEO regarding strategy and 64% of CIOs are on the executive committee
  • Compensation has increased bucking the trend of the past five years
  • 20% of CIOs feel like they are going in the wrong direction or being “sidelined”, which is down 8% from the previous year
  • CIOs viewed as business leaders at 13% are in the minority
  • Skills shortage is a major headache with 56% of CIOs experiencing this problem
  • Morphing to a chief digital officer? Only 9% see themselves in this role
  • The split is even on being a “Cloud wrangler” – 49% agree, 48% disagree

What is happening in 2015?  There is still the hot topic of CIO and CMO or CIO versus CMO and some say this will be the most important aspect in a business in 2015.  The CMO must focus on customer-centric issues particularly building brand loyalty and the CIO to focus on Business Technology which will provide the tools to innovate in order to establish that loyalty.  Obviously given that scenario, these two roles must have a strong link and address challenges together.

Ball

Taking their heads out of the clouds, Gartner, Forrester and IDC are all of the opinion Cloud computing is now mainstream and adoption will accelerate.  More cloud combinations – hybrids- or varieties will emerge. And the Cloud may be reinvented, again or is it simply evolution?

The Internet of Things will continue to grow at a rapid pace and as such will bring the roles of IT and marketing even closer together, in the quest to produce the next object with embedded technology to make our lives “easier” and more efficient.

Outsourcing will increase, not just infrastructure and services but expertise.  It is predicted in the USA in 2015 more than $USD100 billion of outsourcing contracts will be issued.

With cloud computing and increased mobility, security issues will be a focus for all concerned with a significant increase in spending to plug all the holes, which may or may not be successful.  As Forrester notes, “In 2015, there will be large increases in security budgets, with double-digit growth in some sectors… [but] more security budget doesn’t guarantee better security or even increased security maturity… A large majority of companies will discover a breach but botch the response.”

Forrester also sees – “Data as a product or service will create new revenue and customer value streams.” In 2015, we will see data services become a mainstream aspect of product offerings, as “Do you want data services with that?” becomes a familiar refrain.

One welcome opinion is that the traditional RFP process will fade.  For anyone, on either side of the fence, who has been involved in this long and costly process, that is good news indeed.  Business requirements and technology is changing so rapidly, it can make the RFP out of date before it is all done and dusted.

Computing Everywhere, 3D Printing, Context-Rich Systems, and Smart Machines have all been identified by Gartner as “strategic technology trends” for 2015.

One thing is definite, the need for business strategy enmeshed, not just linked, with technology to gain, service and keep customers, is here to stay and that won’t go away.