Technology predictions for 2018 – the CIO will lead the way

According to Forrester’s 2018 predictions, the role and impact of ‘digital’ will be the main concern for global organisations looking to cement their position in respective markets.

Digital transformation is a topic that will dominate business strategy in 2018, and CEOs will look to their CIOs to act as strategic partners in that transformation.

While technology is at the core of the shift to digital, CIOs will have to develop the right culture and talent mix to turn their tech management organisations into the digital transformation office, according to Forrester’s predictions.

>See also: The changing role of the CIO and boardroom in 2017

Indeed, CIO agendas for the New Year will focus on fully embracing digital transformation, cultivating talent, and implementing (not just testing) new technologies.


AI and IoT will remain hot, blockchain will simmer, and quantum will gather steam: AI and IoT will continue to be major focuses for CIOs committing to new operating models that actually add value. Blockchain will not disrupt any industry, but those who understand the potential will continue to invest in it. Tech leaders will begin to experiment with quantum computing following industry giants like Microsoft, Google and IBM.

These new technologies are disrupting every industry, writes Pascal Matzke and Matthew Guarini with Sharyn Leaver, Nigel Fenwick, Jacob Morgan, Michael Glenn, Robert Valdovinos, and Ian McPherson in Forrester’s 2018 predictions.

‘This brings it to the fore with boards, CEOs, and executive teams looking for technical and digital leadership. Leaders will put further distance between themselves and the laggards by leveraging new technologies and developing capabilities that enable them to predict customer needs and continuously stay ahead of changing customer desires.’

>See also: Beyond technology: why every CIO needs to think like a business leader

‘Companies like Google and Amazon are actively showing what this future will look like, as they frequently introduce new products, solutions, and innovations that are based on the predicted needs of customers. In 2018, CIOs at leading firms across all industries will tap emerging technologies faster than even before.’

New talent will re-energise technology teams: 65% of CIOs state that a skills shortage is holding them back and more than 50% feel that developing or acquiring new skills is a high priority for IT.

CIOs will solve this problem by tapping into short-term contract and freelance employees vs. paying a premium for top talent as well as augmenting current roles through automation.

New digital business models will shift to subscriptions and platforms: Disruptive organisations will morph their traditional business models into business platforms that can reach customers directly or through intermediaries and partners. For example, 3M is currently building a direct-to-consumer platform while continuing to rely on Amazon for Business as a growing channel.

>See also: Out of her shell: Women in IT Awards’ CIO of the year

This shift will see key boardroom questions revolve around platform-based business models, new partnership ecosystems, and new ways to organise for success. CIOs will build new skills and competencies to help drive this change.

‘Fuelled by digital and physical enablement, consumers and business buyers will feel more confident entering ongoing digital relationships with their vendors. Connected cars or smart homes were just the beginning. By the end of 2018, about 40% of the revenues of global industrial firms like GE or Siemens will be based on asset usage or other software-enabled service schemes’

Venture Capitalist thinking

Ultimately, the report concluded that successful CIOs will lead by expanding their digital skillset and managing technology like a venture capitalist. Their evolved positioning will ultimately make the role of the chief digital officer (CDO) obsolete.

>See also: 5 tips for CIOs leading digital transformation

‘CIOs can learn a lot from them [venture capitalists]. The first step will be to adopt a portfolio management approach to tracking, testing, and implementing new technologies across an array of technologies and use cases.

‘A second step will be to leverage innovation ecosystems. These ecosystems can either be internal or external. They are specifically designed to grant access to a wider array of technologies and knowledge that is currently available within the technology team. Lastly, CIOs will need to leverage these technologies to support major shifts in their business
models like subscription models, platforms, and prediction.’


The Women in IT Awards is the technology world’s most prominent and influential diversity program. On 22 March 2018, the event will come to the US for the first time, taking place in one of the world’s most prominent business cities: New York. Nominations are now open for the Women in IT USA Awards 2018. Click here to nominate

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...