CIOs On The Eve Of Disruption

Posted: Feb 21 2014, 4:51pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 21 2014, 7:35pm CST


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CIOs On The Eve Of Disruption

Wouldn’t it be great to have some prescient life coach sit down at the beginning of every year and identify ten things that are potentially going to screw up your life in the coming year? Your own personal research analyst could tell you there’s a 75% chance your furnace is going to break down, and an 87% chance you’re going to forget your 20th wedding anniversary because that big project is coming to fruition at the same time.

Luckily, you’re in IT, so at least you have someone to do the same thing in your professional life. Because this year’s theme among analysts and consultants seems to be the CIO as disruptor (see this Forrester column on digital disruption), it’s no surprise that Deloitte Consulting has just released a report entitled Top 10 Trends that Inspire Disruption.

Simply put, these are the issues in Deloitte’s view that CIOs should be aware of. These are the ten things that are potentially going to screw up your life in the coming year.

Having been involved in projects like these for competitors of Deloitte, I know that narrowing the list down to ten is always a challenge. Technology frequently doesn’t change that fast, so what do you do if something was an issue last year and is still an issue this year?

Bill Briggs, CTO of Deloitte Consulting, acknowledged this problem of winnowing, noting that they originally started with a list of 115 issues and narrowed it down to 20 before deciding on the 10. “It’s always a challenge to narrow it down. We have some rules to go by. The impact has to come in 18 to 24 months, and there has to be a real ‘so-what’ – that is, we have to identify three use cases of the trend.”

The ten issues:

  • CIO as venture capitalist
  • Cognitive analytics
  • Industrialized crowdsourcing
  • Digital engagement
  • Wearables
  • Technical debt reversal
  • Social activation
  • Cloud orchestration
  • In-memory revolution
  • Real-time DevOps

I’m not sure I agree with all of them, but Briggs makes a good argument. Take wearables, such as Google glasses. “Imagine a cell tower field service technician having a visual aid for a repair job, or being able to initiate a videoconference so that an expert can see what the technician is seeing,” suggests Briggs. He also cites the use of body-worn sensors that alert warehouse workers if their posture is incorrect. “Collecting that kind of data as ab insurer helps you rethink your worker’s compensation payout.”

And certainly the concept of technical debt – aka the cost of code quality – has been around for a while. Briggs believes that a creaking architecture is a problem waiting to happen, hence the focus on technical debt reversal. “If something was built for batch processing, and you expose it to customers or salespeople, there’s a point where it will break.” Now’s the time to start chipping away at that debt. That ties into the issues of real-time DevOps as well. The whole concept of disruption means a willingness to tinker, which means a faster cycle of development.

There’s probably nothing on the list of ten you haven’t heard of. But their inclusion means that, like an oncoming locomotive, it’s probably time to pay closer attention. “The idea is to see if there’s a way to harness these issues to inspire disruption, so you’re not on the wrong end of it,” says Briggs. “It’s to make sure you’re not surprised and caught unawares, though your strategy might simply be to say, ‘let’s wait and see.’”

Email CIO Next Community Manager Howard Baldwin if you’re a CIO who wants to spout off in an opinion piece on a technology-related issue like disruptive trends.

Source: Forbes

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