Key trends shaping the CIO in 2020

"Don't stop thinking about tomorrow." That’s sound advice for business people and technology leaders alike. Taking the '80s rock group Fleetwood Mac at their word, I recently submitted the presentation of my vision for the CIO of 2020 as part of Slideshare's excellent “Future Of…” series. I can see a few key trends shaping the CIO of the future.  In this post we will look at those trends and in my next post I’ll break down what this means for the CIO of 2020. 


Key trends shaping the CIO of the future


Firstly, the world is going soft. I don't mean lacking backbone or character; I mean it in the technology sense. Programmable computer power and automation technology is now so cheap to produce and consume that software is literally everywhere. It's the same with digital information - from spreadsheets to photos to airline tickets to magazines and music - if it can be digitised and stored, it will be. 


Of all of the trends leading up to the year 2020, this will be the most profound because it means that Information Technology is no longer about the men in white coats safely hidden behind the glass walls of the data centre maintaining fragile machines that no one understands, let alone directly uses.06_Confidence_04(72PPI).png


We have come to expect that technology is ubiquitous and simple to use. Starting from the desktop and then the smartphone, highly sophisticated software—when combined with the power to gather and analyse all the planet's information—has created a unique opportunity to differentiate every enterprise. 


The scary part is that non-IT executives have already figured it out. The good news/bad news is that your CEO now wants to know as much as about information technology as you do. General Electric executive, Jeff Immelt, was recently quoted, "I'm going back to school on big data and software," demonstrating that even CEOs of "traditional" companies such as General Electric get the power of software to transform their industries to meet the needs of a new breed of customer.


Secondly, it’s also clear the customer of the last 70 years is going away and being replaced by an altogether new breed of consumer. We can see this based on three trends:


1). The Boomers are retiring. They're going to need automation and active analytics to be able to maintain (and perhaps extend) their famously independent lifestyles. They are NOT going to want to read the manual on your new gadget.

2). The Boomer's babies are now digital natives. They're constantly connected, socially amplified and famously fickle. They're not going to buy from you because you're #1. They're going to buy from you because you make them feel like they're #1.

3). The New Boomers aren't in your backyard. The new middle class will not be in the same markets, have the same tastes or even customs that we've been building products for, supplying services to and supporting with IT for the last 40 years.




But this brings me to some of the major ways CIOs will evolve in the next 5-10 years. In my next post I will look at how the role of the CIO will change based on:

  • Globalization
  • Mobility
  • Applications
  • Data
  • Connected Intelligence
  • Security
  • Power and energy
  • Resources and personnel

In the meantime, go check out the Future Of… series on SlideShare and my vision for the CIO of 2020 and let me know what you think.

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About the Author
Paul Muller leads the global IT management evangelist team within the Software business at HP. In this role, Muller heads the team responsib...

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