CIOs, don't put the cart before the horse

CIOs will shift away from AI, blockchain, and tech-of-the-day moonshots in 2019 to focus on more methodical approaches to innovation, according to Forrester.

While playing the role of parent, I find that I trot out old tropes like "apply the rules," "start with the basics," and "don't get ahead of yourself" when helping my kids with their homework. And I find that I get into some of the same conversations when I have the opportunity to engage with IT leaders around the globe. In business today, the customer sets the pace, and the business tries to meet it. Too many business leaders look at technology and think of it as the great equalizer or accelerator. While it can be both, the fact is the deployment of technology can be detrimental if you don't have the right foundation in place.

For 2019, Forrester predicts that CIOs will focus on providing the proper foundations while taking a measured approach to innovation. Yes, the CIO will be counted on for innovation, but Forrester predicts a shift away from the AI/blockchain/tech-of-the-day moonshot to a more methodical approach to innovation that focuses on the customer and revenue while utilizing metrics to benchmark and improve.

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To deliver, though, CIOs will need to recognize that their ability to innovate is stunted by a foundation that is anything but flexible or agile. Forrester predicts that growth in back-office technology will accelerate, hitting 5 percent, as CIOs deliver a customer-obsessed operating model that is fast, connected, and insights-driven.

The upshot is that successful CIOs will be seen as rising stars. Forrester predicts that this will create significant movement in the marketplace, as these top CIOs are enticed by new opportunities and look for new challenges. Further, there will be a host of CIOs who will flood the market, as a lack of success will have firms looking for folks who can get the job done. All told, that means up to 20 percent of companies will be looking for a new CIO in 2019.

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John Wooden, the famed UCLA basketball coach, once said, "It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." As you look to 2019, get those details in place for your foundation, and your ability to change the future of your company through technology will surge.


Matthew Guarini leads Forrester's research team serving chief information officers. His team focuses on helping CIOs deliver effective technology strategies that win, serve, and retain customers.

To understand the seismic shifts  that firms will face  in 2019,  download  Forrester's predictions  2019  guide.

This post originally appeared here.

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