To help CIOs and IT leaders navigate the challenging waters ahead, Forrester’s Brian Hopkins offers up some 2020 predictions.
The only thing for certain about 2020 is that nothing is for certain. And while that euphemism has been and will remain the CIO’s North Star, in 2020, their reaction must be different.
Traditionally, IT leaders reacted to uncertain times by hunkering down and going into efficiency and cost-cutting mode. I think that is a recipe for failure in the current environment.
Instead, the leading firms we study at Forrester lean into constant change and uncertainty. At these advanced firms, CIOs are stepping up to help their firms transform customer and employee experiences, leverage digital without becoming a slave to technology, and harness the explosive power of ecosystems for innovation, disruption and growth.
To help navigate these challenging waters, here are a few of our 2020 predictions for CIOs and the other technology management leaders who work with and for them.
1. People will rise to the top of CIO agendas
Today, your IT team can acquire and deploy technologies in hours that used to take months. However, that won’t solve your toughest problem: people.
In 2020, talent, culture and organisational issues will take centre stage. Leadership teams will look to their CIOs for technology solutions that solve these workforce composition challenges.
2. Data strategy scope will stop creeping and start exploding
As firms continue transformation programmes, data will remain a top priority. However, data strategy success requires much more than the right technology.
In the past, this has led to data programme scope creep that creates bloated budgets, unmet expectations and programme stagnation or death.
In 2020, we think the bubble will burst, finally, as leaders recognise that success takes effort from the entire company – and that means serious talent transformation across the board. Leading firms will make the investments, while the rest will waffle.
3. Automation will begin to transform your team
According to our research, the topics CIOs are most interested in include automation, robotic process automation and AI technologies – and for good reason.
When implemented in the right culture with the right people and processes, these technologies can help firms unleash the power of their people by transferring monotonous tasks to robots.
In 2020, CIOs will turn from planning to action with automation, starting with their own workforce. Robots will begin to take over level-one support and mundane infrastructure processes.
Brian Hopkins is a vice-president and principal analyst at Forrester serving CIO professionals. His coverage of technologies includes edge computing, edge intelligence, quantum computing, insight and big-data platforms, and systems of insight. He is a contributing author to the insights-driven business playbook and the IT transformation playbook.
Download Forrester’s Predictions 2020 guide for more information on the major dynamics that will impact firms next year.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Forrester blog.