In the current scenario, technology has enabled business companies to become highly distributed. Organizations face a new set of challenges in the current context of globalization and in free markets. The challenges are mostly related to the ability of organizations to capitalize on potential business opportunities, people and resources in distant markets. New sets of challenges arise when operating business in distant markets and they provide a dilemma to both CEO and the CIO. While planning IT systems for business processes, CIOs often face the problem of delivering acceptable IT services using existing resources. CIOs also face challenges in using IT to generate business value. They often come across fundamental questions like, investing more money on infrastructure, using IT to drive new business initiatives and/or consolidate at the expense of user experience and save cost.
In such scenarios, it becomes important to understand the expectations of IT in business. Business expects IT to fulfil certain fundamental requirements such as,
- Flexibility: Businesses look at IT to support business to respond effectively to opportunities and challenges presented by the market. It must also provide models for business to develop strategies for making use of new opportunities. Many global enterprises make use of IT to achieve value quickly.
- Simplicity: The increases in technology implementation must not led to more complexity, in fact just adding more storage or bandwidth may not always provide as an acceptable approach for business to compete. To ensure simplicity, CIOs may consider investing in technologies like data protection, virtualization and wireless connectivity, and so on to compete effectively in competitive markets. Simplicity refers to making an assessment on where to cut costs and take business forward.
- Security: Security refers to the protection of systems and information from threats (viruses, worms, etc), disasters (natural or manmade) and from hackers with malicious intent. IT must ensure that business is able to prevent and recover as quickly as possible from threats.
- Business continuity: Business expansion across geographical boundaries has increased the need for anywhere, anytime access to IT. Applications must be available at all times (24×7) and therefore, delays or loss of data for any reason can lead to adverse consequences for businesses. IT needs to ensure business continuity by ensuring IT service availability and reliability.
The above are some of the business imperatives for IT. Gartner Research and IDC technology trends suggests that in order to meet business demands through IT, CIOs can leverage on new technology trends that include,
- Hybrid clouds and cloud architectures
- Smart machines
- Web Scale IT
- 3D Printing
- The Internet of things (IoT)
- Mobile applications, mobile diversity and management
- Big Data analytics
The business imperatives for IT and trends in new technology take us to having a closer look at CIO predictions for 2015 and beyond. IDC in October 2014 hosted a web conference named IDC Futruescape: Worldwide CIO Agenda 2015 Predictions to highlight the predictions for 2015 and beyond. Based on this conference and IDC FutureScape report CIOs and company leaders can capitalize on emerging business opportunities and plan for future growth.
The predictions for CIOs in 2015 as given by IDC include,
- CIOs will spend maximum time in analytics, cyber security, and creating new streams of revenue through the use of digital services. By 2017, CIOs will be spending 80% of their time in these areas.
- IT-as-a-service (ITaaS) will be required by organizations to achieve global competitive strategies. IDC predictions indicate 65% third-party ITaaS adoption by enterprise organizations.
- The top business priority for CEOs of global enterprises is security.
- CIOs will use DevOps as their primary tool to effectively engage the speed and sprawl of mobile, cloud and open source applications.
- IDC suggests that by 2016, CIOs will be able to deliver new frameworks that enable innovation and improved decision making in business.
- Global organizations by 2020 may move the position of CIO to be named as Chief Digital Officer (CDO) for the delivery of IT enabled products and digital services.
- CIOs in order to counter premature expiry of IT assets may accelerate the existing infrastructure to third party platforms. By 2016, 80% of CIOs are likely to make this step.
- CIOs in global organizations are in the process of developing a pan-enterprise data and analytics strategy.
- Third party platform technologies used for vendor relationships are quite likely to fail. This failure will result in CIOs rolling out new sourcing processes.
- CIOs favour open standards and frameworks instead of traditional mode of technology control.
The IDC study provides top decision imperatives for CIOs in 2015 and beyond. These predictions are based on strategic contexts on how CIOs apply technology to business challenges and transform challenges into opportunities in the enterprise.