Continuing my tradition of forecasting the state of IT for the coming year, 2019 carries much promise for both IT and technology. Digital transformation continues to be an urgent imperative for organizations, with some exciting new developments.
10 CIO Predictions: What’s Next for IT
1. The most successful IT organizations will continue to be the most diverse.
Innovation—the most precious commodity in IT for the next decade—is fueled by diversity. The most innovative IT teams will be those that embrace a culture in which all employees feel free to contribute ideas.
2. Culture matters now more than ever.
Organizations are realizing the benefits of Agile adoption, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition. People resist change. Creating a culture that provides an immediate window into the benefits—collaboration, transparency, accelerated delivery—is critical. IT also needs to understand how every project impacts business value.
3. It’s all about quality, not quantity.
A team of about a dozen people built and developed WhatsApp, the world’s most popular messaging service. With 1.5 billion global users, WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion. Conventional IT structures give way to more nimble teams whose mantra is experiment, innovate, learn, fail and try again.
4. IT will have one of the best seats at the table.
However, we must continuously earn a right to keep that seat. With the industry’s race to digitize the business, there’s never been a better time to be a CIO or IT leader. As digital transformation impacts everything from supply chain to customer experience, more CIOs will not only run parts of the business, but also be groomed for CEO roles.
5. IoT and the Intelligent Edge will transform industries.
Sensors, RFID tags and other IoT devices are already revolutionizing manufacturing and production. Smart pills and electronic health records will transform healthcare. Smart sensors around the neighborhood will lead to safer and cleaner smart cities. Inside-the-car IoT information, like diagnostics and connected apps, are altering the driving experience.
6. Get out the whiteboard.
The mantle will fall on IT leadership to translate what rapidly-emerging technology means for companies. For example, everyone in the organization doesn’t have to know exactly how natural language processing works. But, they do have to know how it will help deliver a better customer experience and gain new, useful insights.
7. Everyone’s a consumer.
Mobile and consumer technology creates a more inclusive, collaborative and creative workplace. But, this technology also raises employee experience expectations around the latest tech. CIOs will play a larger role in continuously adapting to this landscape and keeping employees happy, while mitigating risk.
8. AI will go mainstream.
It’s going to be a while before the AI hype cycle dies down. In the meantime, we’ll see some astonishing AI breakthroughs in the next year. We’ll also see greater need for AI transparency, so that we understand what it’s doing with our data and why.
9. Digital privacy and ethics: are we doing the right thing?
Companies must earn customers’ trust by keeping their personal information closely guarded. Or companies will face backlash.
10. 5G, AR and VR.
This year will be a big year for 5G network launches, particularly in China, the U.S., Japan, South Korea and the U.K. But, I believe 2020 is the year that it will really take off. With 5G, it’s conceivable that AR/VR devices will enhance our smartphones. Autonomous cars won’t be far behind as AI and 5G work hand-in-hand to deliver experiences that only recently seemed decades away. Will it happen in 2019? Not likely. But in any case, we’ll be ready for it! Will you?