IDC 2015 Predictions – Navigating the Digital Opportunity: A Bridge CIOs Must Cross

Thinkstock Research firm IDC recently ran a webinar explaining its CIO agenda for 2015. The call discussed long-term industry trends that have been reshaping the role of CIO and IT shops around the world. I was impressed with both the high percentages that IDC called out as well as the relative immediacy of the predictions – 2016 is not that far off in the future. Some of the more intriguing IDC predictions included:

  • By 2017, 80% of the CIO’s time will be focused on analytics, cybersecurity and creating new revenue streams through digital services.
  • By 2016, 65% of global competitive strategies will require real-time 3rd Platform IT-as-a–Service (ITaaS).
  • By 2016, security will be among the top 3 business priorities for 70% of global enterprise CEOs.
  • By 2016, 80% of CIOs will deliver a new architectural framework that enables innovation and improved business decision-making.
  • By 2015, 60% of CIOs will use DevOps as their primary tool to address the speed and sprawl of mobile, cloud, and open source applications.

IDC framed the discussion around three overarching drivers that are impacting the enterprise, namely Business, Social and Technology:

  • Business: It’s clear that CIOs and their IT shops need to shift from the maintenance and operations model to become brokers of services in support of business objectives. Agility is the order of the day, and the shift to a service model will empower businesses to spin up new offerings in response to customer needs.
  • Social: The workplace has become elastic, in both a temporal and physical sense. CIOs need to support workers throughout the day and night. This is forcing IT to move from a “fortress” or “lockdown” view on security to one that protects assets and individuals. The choice is stark between having a proactive and reactive security plan.
  • Technology: The proliferation of connected ‘things’ is going to create a deluge of data and opportunities for CIOs to place themselves at the center of business conversations. Smart and active analytics will replace what IDC cleverly calls ‘passive analysis and interrogation.’ Also, the ‘everything-as-a-service’ model will oblige IT to restructure ‘everything.’ The pending rate of change cannot be sustained without robust architecture.

Like the other big research firms, IDC sees digital transformation as key for businesses, including the disruptive influence of cloud computing and Big Data (data analytics, social computing, and the ubiquity of smart mobile devices). IDC describes this phenomenon as the 3rd Platform, while Gartner refers to it as the Digital Business Advantage brought about by the Nexus of Forces, and Forrester calls it Digital Business. What is consistent across all of these views is how disruptive this digitalization of business will be in the coming century. Gartner predicts that “By 2020, 75% of businesses will be a digital business or will be preparing to become one.”

The opportunity to re-invent ourselves is breathtaking, and I’m reminded of the Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” If you haven’t already broken ground on your digital transformation, there is no better time than now.

In a digital world things move even faster, so keeping ahead of your competitors is critical. And market intelligencehas never been more central to staying competitive.

  • Analyst relations professionals should be pulling all the levers possible on their inbound AR toolkit, constantly distilling insights from running inquiries, strategy days and events to support market intelligence efforts.
  • Product management teams should be constantly listening to analyst feedback on what customers are prioritizing when it comes to digital. Digital requires a different approach and analyst opinions on what clients are struggling with can be a great source of insight when it comes to refining roadmaps.
  • Public relations teams have a perfect opportunity to leverage digital transformation as the heart and blood of their story. Industries are transforming themselves overnight and PR is the perfect discipline through which to communicate the benefits and disruptive power that this entails.

How are you changing your business model and communications approach to take advantage of the digital opportunity? We’d love to hear your perspective. Please feel free to contact me at: