Inside the modern battleground

Inside the modern battleground

A heads up on the four technology trends that CIOs have to prepare for.

Mobile, cloud, analytics and social technologies are fundamentally changing the way consumers behave.

These four forces are prompting businesses to completely relook at what they’re doing with IT, says Arron Patterson, chief technology officer at EMC New Zealand.

“Boardrooms all over the country are brainstorming ideas about how to handle industry disruption and changing competitive landscapes. Organisations are looking for new ways to survive and, hopefully, thrive in a rapidly changing world. These conversations keep coming back to how disruptive technologies can provide new mobile applications that will improve customer service and build loyalty.”

This “modern battleground where rivals fight for competitive advantage” will feature at least four trends CIOs have to prepare for, he writes:

Danger in the shadows

There are also many internal battles going on right now. Business users want instant access to technology resources and have learned they can find them in public clouds; IT departments are trying to retain control of their environments to prevent unnecessary risk. Even within IT departments, application teams are pulling their hair out with frustration at how long it takes to put infrastructure in place to test and develop new ideas. In some cases core applications are being run on public cloud services and the CIO knows nothing about it until something goes wrong. This is the stuff of nightmares for IT because no risk management has been done so there are no backup or disaster recovery plans in place. Cybersecurity grabs most of the headlines but the biggest threat facing some organisations in the next few years will come from within.

Embedding IT into business

Read more: Boards alerted on social media’s role in crisis management

IT and business have always been on the same team but that’s been difficult to believe sometimes. So what’s going to change? The answer might lie in new approaches to major transformation projects, using agile techniques to reset priorities every couple of weeks and deliver a steady stream of small developments. Successes deliver instant benefits while failure is inexpensive so everybody learns and moves on. These new models could mark the beginning of decentralisation for IT, with core operations staying where they are but software development being pushed out into the business units where it’s needed.

Cybersecurity grabs most of the headlines but the biggest threat facing some organisations in the next few years will come from within.

Arron Patterson, EMC NZ

Read more: Multi-speed IT needs multi-speed CIOs

Related: Why leading New Zealand CIOs are unfazed by the rapid pace of change

Predictive analytics

Predictive analytics already play a part in so much of what we do every day. This is how Spotify decides what song to play next when you ask it to come up with recommendations, it’s how eBay knows what kind of shirt to recommend when you buy a pair of jeans, and how Google guides your online searches through billions of possible options. You’ll also see predictive analytics at work next time you’re on a real estate or car sales website. When you search by make, model and year that site has a good idea of other cars you might be interested in; if you’re looking at a house they can accurately guess what other suburbs you might consider. It’s in their interest to inform your searches because they’ll sell more if they can help you find what it is you want to buy. Before long you can be sure somebody in a contact centre will know everything they need to make a decision on your application as soon as they accept your call.

Waiting for wearables

Read more: A ‘defensive shield’ for legal cybersecurity risks

There’s been a lot of buzz about wearable technologies this year, particularrly since Apple unveiled its range of watches. Yet it still feels like there’s a little way to go before wearables gain mainstream acceptance. The biggest problem the industry has right now is finding real uses that aren’t simply an extension of your smartphone. Most of the applications in the consumer market have related to health and fitness but we’ll see lots of niche business applications emerge during the next few years – safety helmets that monitor for the presence of dangerous gases, wristbands that detect when a driver is in danger of falling asleep and issue an alert, protective gloves that can also accurately measure distances.

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Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

Follow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz

Read more: A little known influence approach to sidestep resistance

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