Besides keeping the lights on, CIOs need to wrap their heads around an exploding list of emerging tech — but instead of looking at innovations from the inside out, they'll need to start their ruminations with the customer front and centre.
According to analyst Forrester, CIOs that want to remain relevant tomorrow will need not just to keep their finger on the pulse of a dizzying array of innovations, but also to figure out where best to apply that technology to improve the business.
One guiding principal that analyst firm Forrester recommends CIOs follow is to take a customer-centric approach to these decisions. This may mean establishing a cosier relationship with the business managers that are responsible for customer engagement, and learning how to improve their chances of winning and keeping customers.
To be useful, the CIO needs a firm grasp on not just mobile, big data, and innovations in the datacentre, but also where and how the Internet of Things, wearables, analytics, and software-defined infrastructure fit into the organisation.
To help CIOs with emerging technologies and their potential application in the business, Forrester has boiled down 15 technologies into to four main "innovation" categories: business solutions; edge technologies where customer interactions happen; core technologies that enable delivery and aggregation; and foundation technologies likely to happen in the data centre or cloud.
The analyst's top technologies to watch in business solutions include customer analytics; digital experience delivery tech; and technologies that let the customer drive changes to an organisation's processes and product design decisions. If they aren't already, CIOs should keep an eye on Internet of Things (IoT) too, particularly products that allow IoT to round out existing business processes without lots of custom work.
CIOs will also need to watch out for interaction platform innovations such as low-power wide area connectivity in the field; wearables; and natural computer interfaces such as voice, gesture, eye-tracking, haptic actuators, and virtual reality googles, which all have the potential to complement touch and keyboard interfaces.
One of the top four innovations in digital delivery and aggregation is real-time data sourcing and delivery, which should help create insight, security, and speed for the organisation. This means keeping a watch on big data sourcing tools from Apache, data APIs, and so forth. Meanwhile, CIOs need to keep an eye on new digital identity management, including biometric tech being rolled out today by Apple, that enables contactless payments and improved customer experiences. The other big category for CIOs to be aware of is tools that accelerate software development cycles.
Under foundation and infrastructure innovations, Forrester sees CIOs needing to monitor advances in silicon, which will drive the development of new sensors and compute improvements for specific tasks, such as better mobile devices, analytics, computer vision and neuromorphic computing.