Top 7 CIO Trends for 2016

Top 7 CIO Trends for 2016
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by Sanjeev Kapoor 19 Nov 2015

As 2015 rolls to a close what does 2016 look for CIOs? How can they prepare themselves for the challenges that the next year brings?

According to Forrester, the next few years will be driven by customer experience. Providing standout and consistent customer experience across multiple touchpoints will separate a brand from the competition. But it does not end with customers- forward looking organizations are empowering their employees to deliver across the customer life cycle.

Here are 7 trends to watch out for:

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  1. More focus on data

While a number of companies have jumped on the Big Data bandwagon there are still a vast majority who are slowly coming to terms with how to handle the gobs of structured and unstructured data lying in their systems (a report found that 92% of enterprises surveyed struggled with Big Data projects). Unless these companies design systems to process and handle that data chances are that they would be outflanked by the competition in just about anything, from mergers and acquisition, new service offerings, venturing into new markets etc.

  1. IoT will be even more widespread

On the question of data Gartner predicts that as the number of sensors increase the quantum of data will see an exponential rise. By 2020 there will be 25 billion IoT devices, and all that data can be used to optimize operations, plug gaps in service delivery and gather intelligence on usage patterns. But reconciling all this data and making sense of it is a herculean task, and CIOs need to lead from the front in setting up the technical infrastructure and human bench strength to tackle these issues.

  1. Security will be adaptive

Another trend that Gartner highlights is the security model where systems are not going to be waiting for an attack to take place, but will actively detect cyber threats and counter them before they wreak havoc. The older paradigm of rule based security and perimeter defense no longer works in an environment where APIs are used extensively by organizations to integrate various services. Instead, there will be a shift to developing adaptive security architectures so that apps can defend themselves.

  1. 3D printing will see massive growth

Tesla is 3D printing engine parts of its cars, and SpaceX is using 3D printing techniques to create parts of rockets. With enterprise 3D printing shipments seeing a 64.1% compound annual growth rate it’s likely that 2016 will see the deepening of roots of 3D printing. The main beneficiaries are likely to be sectors like aerospace, automotive, medical devices etc.

  1. Machines will learn and then act

New sensors will not only collect information from their surroundings but will also autonomously take decisions based on algorithms. Human intervention in many business processes will lessen, and humans will work at a higher level of decision making. For this to bear fruit CIOs need to lead investments in machine learning, advanced analytics and big data. In particular they need to sharpen their focus on latent semantic indexing, data taxonomy, and predictive analytics.

  1. Mobile will be the key differentiator

According to Forrester CIOs who fail at mobile will lose their jobs. While that’s quite a stark statement the truth is probably close. As vast swathes of customers move to mobile devices companies which fail to create business processes compatible with mobile will lose customers and users. A Forrester survey has found that organizations which have attained maturity in mobile technologies have shown greater growth in revenues compared to those who have neglected mobile.

  1. Smart agents will rule the roost

Open your phone and you will already see an example of smart agents in action in the form of virtual personal assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Google Now. These agents are just the beginning in a long line of post app devices that learn user behavior and deliver contextual information, almost like a real life assistant. While they are used in personal applications right now there is a lot of potential for AI powered agents like these on the factory floor, in logistics, and such other facets of business operations. CIOs need to start internal programs to develop AI agents if they want to take advantage of this trend.


All these technology and business enhancements lead to one overarching goal- delivering a better customer experience. That has been the case in the past years, and nothing is likely to change about it even next year.

Delight and please your customers and you will survive and thrive.

Stay tuned for another set of trends next month.

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