5 trends that will make or break the CIO in 2014


1. From CIO to CDIO: IT gets its chance to shine in digital

Next year is all about digital, much like most of 2013, only this time IT will have caught up and the CIO has the opportunity to take centre stage. Previously we have seen those with a marketing background take on digital leadership roles, with their customer engagement skills key to success. However, 2014 will need greater focus on technology know how, complex technical project delivery and cost control – strengths of the IT function. 2014 will be about bringing digital closer to IT and for the right CIOs, a change of role from CIO to CDIO.

2. Measurement… of everything

Every year data is king but this year it hits another level. Better technology means we can measure, store and make meaning of more information than ever. This ranges from more data on customers buying habits through to logistics and operational processes and even extends to measuring the personal – think Nike Fuel for customers’ running prowess, or Sleep Cycle for sleep patterns. More data means more insight, which in turn means more knowledge and power. For CIOs, this means living up to their job title and delivering real 'information' capabilities to the wider business.

3. The age of the mobile worker

2014 is about anytime, anywhere working. Tablets and smartphones will be increasingly the de facto choice for accessing IT solutions, with desktops soon to be seen in the same light as the giant brick phones of the late 1980s. Of course, mobile working is about more than the device. It's about anywhere access and mobile solutions, so CIOs will need to drive the move to more mobile apps, cloud based solutions and collaboration platforms like Yammer to meet mobile worker needs. Whatever business you are in, providing visitors to your office with Wi-Fi and power facilities will be as expected as running water and electricity.

>See also: 5 things newly appointed CIOs must do to succeed

4. IT feels the need for speed

At home if you need a new app, you can just visit the Apple store and buy one for a few pounds, which works seamlessly with all your other apps. Excuses will dry up in 2014 for why IT can't do the same at a corporate level. IT will need to be faster, more innovative and agile in 2014, speeding up time to market for technology based products and services. In practice, this will feature a greater focus on systems integration for easy plug and play IT, like APIs and integration architecture; rapid procurement frameworks with nimble suppliers; IT innovation roles with clear ROI targets; agile development and delivery methods; and an acceptance of disposable IT, where IT solutions are built with shorter lifespans to meet immediate needs – 10 year life expectancies will be far and few in between.

We will also see a shift towards continuous improvement of systems – where applications are improved all the time, rather than in big upgrade projects.  IT functions have two cultures at the moment – the “run” people, who have to keep the lights on and resist any kind of change to avoid risk and the “build” people, often in business lead projects or consultants, who like to look at the art of the possible. The “build” people often engage the “run” people only when they want to throw what they’ve built over the wall into Business as Usual (BAU) support. Going forward, CIOs need to bring the BAU team in when they are designing new solutions or upgrades, to help design the eventual service they will support.  This is standard ITIL best practice but often not done. In a world where the development cycles and gaps between development efforts are constantly reducing (the latter to zero) CIOs need to ensure that these two types of people find more common ground next year.

5. IT – too important to fail

Whilst IT operations might not immediately grab the focus of many, it is the bread and butter that CIOs will live or die by in 2014. Constant IT is now essential so 2014 will be about investing in and providing unfailing IT services.  Where they do fail, 2014 will be about providing the fastest, best IT resolution possible.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...