Insights

Tech Trends 2015

The fusion of business and IT

Deloitte’s annual Tech Trends reports examine the ever-evolving technology landscape and those trends that have the potential to transform business, government, and society. Written from the perspective of the CIO, these reports explore technology trends that have the opportunity to impact organizations - across industries, geographies, and sizes today and in the future.

Deloitte’s annual Tech Trends reports examine the ever-evolving technology landscape and those trends that have the potential to transform business, government, and society. Written from the perspective of the CIO, these reports explore technology trends that have the opportunity to impact organizations - across industries, geographies, and sizes today and in the future.

The 2015 report examines eight current technology trends, ranging from the way some organizations are using application programming interfaces to extend services and create new revenue streams, to the dramatic impact connectivity and analytics are having on digital marketing; and from the evolving role of the CIO to changing IT skill sets and delivery models.

 

Tech Trends 2015: The fusion of business and IT

Tech Trends 2015, an Irish Perspective

CIO as chief integration officer

One of the most interesting - and perhaps most talked about - trends this year is the CIO as Chief Integration Officer.

The future of many industries is inextricably linked to harnessing emerging technologies and disrupting portions of their existing business and operating models. As a result, CIOs can serve as the critical link between business strategy and the IT agenda, while also helping identify, vet, and apply emerging technologies to the business roadmap.

But are CIOs ready? According to a Gartner report, currently, 51 percent of CIOs agree that the torrent of digital opportunities threatens both business success and their IT organizations’ credibility. In addition, 42 percent of them believe their current IT organization lacks the key skills and capabilities necessary to respond to a complex digital business landscape.”

Our most recent CIO Survey in Ireland found that 44% of Irish CIOs now report themselves as excellent business partners, an upward trend that they should leverage for support on IT investment and innovation.

However, our survey also found that Irish CIOs feel constrained by risk aversion amongst their executive peers, preventing them from undertaking what are perceived as riskier IT investments. In a country with a strong high-tech reputation, it is disappointing to see that 66% of Irish CIOs ring-fence less than a tenth of their budget for innovation. But if CIOs don’t step up they could find themselves relegated to a “care and feeding” role while others chart a strategic course toward a future built around innovation and increasingly commoditised technologies.

API economy

In many industries, creating a thriving platform offering across an ecosystem lies at the heart of a company’s business strategy. But interfaces often remain the biggest hurdles in a development lifecycle and the source of much ongoing maintenance complexity. Leading companies are answering both calls—making API management and productisation important components of not just their technology roadmaps, but also their business strategies. APIs have been elevated from a development technique to a boardroom consideration. Data and services are the currency that will fuel the new API economy. The question is: Is your organisation ready to compete in this open, vibrant, and Darwinian free market?

What we’re seeing is that the technology industry is in the middle of a mobile renaissance that is fueled predominantly by the API economy. The rise of the API economy has opened flood-gates creating a wide range of business opportunities. APIs have revolutionised the market by enabling new and traditional products/services via different channels which have generated massive economic value.

For example, Netflix is currently processing five billion private, internal requests daily (via devices used to stream content. What was once seen as a tool for reaching new audiences and doing new things is now being used tactically to “enable the overall business strategy to be better.”

Ambient computing

Ambient computing is about embracing this backdrop of sensing and potential action-taking with an ecosystem of things that can respond to what’s actually happening in the business. Possibilities abound from the tremendous growth of embedded sensors and connected devices—in the home, the enterprise, and the world at large.

Translating these possibilities into business impact requires focus—purposefully bringing smarter “things” together with analytics, security, data, and integration platforms to make the disparate parts work seamlessly with each other. Ambient computing is the backdrop of sensors, devices, intelligence, and agents that can put the Internet of Things to work.

“Along with cloud and big data, the Internet of Things is rapidly becoming one of the looming, seismic IT shifts. These shifts are waiting for simple, compelling scenarios to turn potential into business impact. Companies are exploring the IoT, but some only vaguely understand its full potential. To realise that potential, organizations should look beyond physical “things” and the role of sensors, machines, and other devices. True innovation comes from bringing together all the components; sensors, devices, analytics, to produce something of real value”.

Dimensional marketing

Marketing has evolved significantly in the last half-decade. The evolution of digitally connected customers lies at the core, reflecting the dramatic change in the dynamic between relationships and transactions. A new vision for marketing is being formed as CMOs and CIOs invest in technology for marketing automation, next-generation omnichannel approaches, content development, customer analytics, and commerce initiatives. This modern era for marketing is likely to bring new challenges in the dimensions of customer engagement, connectivity, data, and insight.

“Over 80 percent of Irish people have Internet access. Fifty-nine percent have smartphones. Consumers are now using new technologies to research products and shop through a variety of channels. The consumer experience now demands a balance of form and function. Experiences should be personalised, contextual, and real-time. This is a dramatic shift from the days of catering to broad demographics and customer segments”.

Software-defined everything

Amid the hype surrounding digital, analytics, and cloud, it is easy to overlook advances currently being made in infrastructure and operations. The entire operating environment—server, storage, and network—can now be virtualised and automated. The data center of the future represents the potential for not only lowering costs, but also dramatically improving speeds and reducing the complexity of provisioning, deploying, and maintaining technology footprints. Software-defined everything can elevate infrastructure investments, from costly plumbing to competitive differentiators.

“Leading IT departments are adopting agile methodologies to fuel experimentation and prototyping, creating disciplines around architecture and design, and embracing DevOps. These efforts, when paired with platform-as-a-service solutions, provide a strong foundation for making the overall operating environment more responsive and dynamic, which is critical as organisations launch digital 

Core renaissance

Organisations have significant investments in their core systems. Beyond running the heart of the business, these assets can form the foundation for growth and new service development—building upon standardised data and automated business processes. To this end, many organisations are modernising systems to pay down technical debt, re-platforming solutions to remove barriers to scale and performance, and extending their legacy infrastructures to fuel innovative new services and offerings.

“Most IT leaders understand the looming importance of addressing issues in their core systems. There are many examples here in Ireland of core technology assets being revamped and modernised to extend their useful life but also to drive innovation. The challenge is shifting from acknowledging a potential issue to making an actionable recommendation with a supporting business case and roadmap that balances business opportunities with implementation complexity”.

Amplified intelligence

Analytics techniques are growing in complexity, and companies are applying machine learning and predictive modeling to increasingly massive and complex data sets. Artificial intelligence is now a reality. Its more promising application, however, is not replacing workers but augmenting their capabilities. When built to enhance an individual’s knowledge and deployed seamlessly at the point of business impact, advanced analytics can help amplify our intelligence for more effective decision making.

“Albert Einstein famously pointed out: “Not everything that can be counted counts. And not everything that counts can be counted.” Business semantics, cultural idiosyncrasies, and sparks of creativity remain difficult to codify. The human element remains critical to discovering new patterns and identifying the questions that should be asked. Just as autopilot technologies haven’t replaced the need for pilots to fly planes, the world of amplified intelligence allows workers to do what they do best: interpreting and reacting to data in a broader context”.

IT worker of the future

Scarcity of technical talent is a significant concern across many industries, with some organisations facing talent gaps along multiple fronts. The legacy-skilled workforce is retiring, and organisations are scrambling for needed skills in the latest emerging, disruptive technologies. To tackle these challenges, companies will likely need to cultivate a new species—the IT worker of the future—with habits, incentives, and skills that are inherently different from those in play today.

“Numbers employed in the ICT sector in Ireland have risen by 40% since 2012. As it is, 7,000 jobs in the ICT sector are currently unfilled in Ireland, and 10,000 more potential jobs are under threat in the short-term, thanks to a skills shortage*. By 2020, it is anticipated that demand in the sector will be double the levels experienced today. We see Deloitte playing a major role in growing talent and becoming the ‘go-to’ destination for technology talent and leadership in the future.”

*Source FIT IT Skills Audit 2014

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