The digital-ready CIO: top technology trends for 2015

Fibre Optic CablesGiven the emergence of the “CEO geek,” it is essential for CIOs to be digital-ready and ahead of the technology curve.

In the pre-digital age, CEOs and board members would frequently seek their assistants’ help as they struggled with their laptops. Today, with the consumerization of IT, senior C-level leaders are often savvy users of technologies, from smart mobile devices to the latest apps.

Today’s CIOs find themselves swamped with demands and advice from senior colleagues. These fellow execs want to know why the organization is not using the latest tech-driven innovation to transform its fortunes – especially when those same execs are already using such innovations at home.

What are the leading technology trends likely to be in 2015? At EY, we believe that the trends around digital, e.g. smart technology; data analytics, as in agile manufacturing; cloud, security and privacy will each continue to have a huge impact.

Tech commentators have also made their 2015 top-10 predictions. These include many familiar suspects, such as mobility and social media. They’ve also highlighted more cutting-edge trends, such as wearables and robotics.

Let’s take a closer look at the cutting-edge, as this is what will really excite the CEO.

Wearable tech

Wearables — from smart watches to glasses — are a growing trend, which could accelerate in 2015.

IT industry analyst Canalys forecasts that shipments of wearable bands will increase by 129% in 2015. These bands allow users to do anything from paying for a drink to monitoring their fitness. Apple’s Watch device, unveiled by the company in September 2014, is expected to drive take-up.

Wearables can transform productivity. For example, Boeing’s workers use virtual-reality glasses when building aircraft. This saves them from scrolling manually through extensive documentation.

I, Robot

Robots are already here in the form of Baxter and Google’s self-driving car. But it is their increasing ubiquity that will really change the landscape. Commentators predict that robots will become as commonplace as smartphones.

Again, this technology has huge potential to enhance organization efficiency and workforce profile.
In 2013, Oxford University’s Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne released a study that outlined how, over the next two decades, 47% of US jobs could be susceptible to automation. These include mainstream office positions as well as jobs in areas such as transport.

So, as new technologies arrive and evolve with increasing speed, what tactics should CIOs use to stay ahead of the curve?

  • Anticipate CEO and board questions
    To take the lead on debating the strategic implications of new technology, you need to set up meetings between the key decision-makers in your organization, and be prepared to lead the discussion.
  • Make time in your diary
    To keep up to speed with new developments in technology, you must set aside time to scan the tech press and read thought leadership from leading institutions, such as MIT.
  • Act like a millennial consumer
    If you want to understand how consumers interact with new products and organizations, make sure you engage with the latest platforms, such as Instagram or Airbnb.
  • Build your innovation network
    Make sure you attend the right conferences and seek input and thought leadership from innovative suppliers and partners.

The top technology trends of 2015 will drive the digital transformation of the economy. They will transform customer experience, change the way organizations operate, and create new business models.

CIOs have an exciting opportunity to build long-term perspectives on what the business of tomorrow will look like. Can the CIO be the strategic-minded futurist that today’s CEOs want to see?

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