4 Trends in Technology that are Challenging the Status Quo


New and disruptive IT-enabled trends are altering how people live and work like never before. Today, an organisation's business strategy can no longer afford to dictate its technology strategy, and CIOs must learn how to exploit these disruptive trends so that IT can influence the business strategy.

In the past, IT Strategies tended to outline a back office-centric 3-5 year plan, directing IT investments. It was common to define the IT department by what it owned, and CIOs often omitted technologies beyond its remit from the technology strategy. Its raison d'etre was to align with business strategy as a supporting element rather than an influencing force. IT therefore generally made safe conservative, risk-adverse decisions that followed mainstream thinking. Innovation was a substance of rarity.

Use of technology is now pervasive throughout the organisation, from the front to back office. As a result of increasing inter-dependencies among different technology solutions in an enterprise, many challenges and complexities arise. Technology is no longer a background enabler of common functions such as telephones and emails.

So, what are the technology trends prevailing wisdom around business strategy?

1. The Scope of IT

Today, B2B and B2C interactions depend heavily on technology capabilities. From e-commerce to social networking, technology exposes IT to a much broader set of mandates far from its traditional focus on the back office.

As technologies converge, IT finds itself becoming increasingly responsible for a portfolio of technologies previously considered non-IT. Examples include: Cloud Hosting and Bring Your Own Device.

These developments, blur the rigidly controlled boundaries of enterprise IT, meaning that it can no longer be a mere supporting element.

2. Consumerisation

Powerful consumerisation trends are forcing IT to deal with the introduction of new technologies brought into an enterprise environment without its control, demanding much nimbler responses to security issues and IT support.

Employee's preference to use their personal mobile devices, computers, applications, social media and cloud services fundamentally changed the relationship between IT and the business. IT must now present to the business ways of dealing with rapid model changes, security, vulnerability and data management, not to mention proposing an entirely revamped support structure for consumer devices.

3. Technology Innovation: From Cutting Cost to Adding Value

In today's environment, being efficient with IT no longer means purely cost-cutting and reducing risk. Constant innovation within technology means organisations may need to spend more up front and deal with greater risk to drive efficiency.

Part of a strategy may consider increasing technology investments. For example, investment in automation may reduce the overall enterprise spend, or investment in advanced analytics could improve the bottom line, relieving the cost pressure. In short, a proactive approach to IT investments can drive innovation and efficiencies.

4. Big Data

Over the past two decades, IT tended to focus on building robust infrastructures and business systems. With these in place, the organisations have shifted the focus to extract critical business insights these systems capture to make innovative and competitive business decisions.

These trends disrupt IT's relationship with the business to the extent of rendering the current modus operandi unfit for purpose. That IT's scope has never been broader, its influence on employee satisfaction never stronger and ability to innovate and inform the business never higher, demonstrates it potential to deliver real value in the strategic decision-making process. It's time to take a more proactive response.

It’s time for a serious rethink in terms of the role of the CIO and technology in a business context

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