The future CIO

In an industry like technology, it can be notoriously difficult to predict the next big thing. But when the success of your business depends on your ability to determine where the next risk and opportunity comes from, it’s hardly surprising that we all try.

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The future CIO
By  ACN Staff Writer Published  December 21, 2010

In an industry like technology, it can be notoriously difficult to predict the next big thing. But when the success of your business depends on your ability to determine where the next risk and opportunity comes from, it’s hardly surprising that we all try.

Analyst house Gartner recently outlined seven technologies that it believes enterprises around the world will have to adopt over the next five years in order to remain competitive.

Citing predictions that the IT industry will experience growth of over 4% a year, Gartner said that many of the technologies were already in their gestation phase; more a case of when rather than if, and as such they are to be ignored by CIOs at their peril.

One overarching theme amongst them is the increasing impact that digital technologies are having both in the workplace and in our personal lives.

“We are increasingly living, playing and working in a digital world where people will have no alternatives but to become ‘more digital’ with the assets that they have available,” said Stephen Prentice, vice president and Gartner Fellow. Citing an example of this change, Prentice said: “In 2012, the internet will be 75% larger than what it was in 2002, and if Facebook was a country, it would be the third largest in the world (after China and India).”

It isn’t just the internet that is having an impact on our digital culture, he added. “Device and data proliferation is also a reality that cannot be escaped. Smart devices will rise from 60 billion devices in 2010 to more than 200 billion in 2020.”

The change is also having a wider impact beyond just the technologies that we use day-to-day. “Technology is no longer the preserve of the CIO,” said Ken McGee, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “It has become everyone’s property and issue.”

This shift in the balance of concern is a challenge for the CIO, but it is one that they can’t avoid, he warns. “We are reaching these observations by exploring future IT growth and future adoption projections.”

In essence, McGee warns, these changes extend from far outside the datacentre. “We are looking at emerging business and societal trends and based upon our findings, we will indicate future winners and losers.”

The outcome of this is a change in the role of the CIO away from being a simple manager of infrastructure to a key central tenet of the digital culture. “We expect to see more deployment of existing technologies in new and innovative ways, and fewer and fewer genuinely new technologies emerging in the mainstream. That is not to imply that no new developments will occur, but we are now starting to see the early indications of precursor and trigger technologies for the next wave, which is likely to run from about 2025 to 2080.

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