5 Trends Spotted at Forrester’s Forum for Technology Management

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PwC had the privilege to sponsor Forrester’s Forum for Technology Management Leaders this week in Orlando and our team had a great time and learned a great deal.  We distilled our conversations into 5 trends that we think are picking up steam based on what we heard.

1. We are Nearing the Digital Moment of Truth

Nigel Fenwick, one of Forrester’s principal analysts serving CIOs, described findings from their research on the state of “digital” in the enterprise.  Mirroring many of the findings in PwCs Digital IQ survey, he outlined that companies better get their digital capabilities (approximately 1:5 reported strong digital capabilities across several functions in their studies) in line with the demands and expectations of the marketplace.  He deadpanned: You can be a Digital Predator or Digital Prey.

2. The CIO is Not Dead

Contrary to some in the media and analyst communities, there is growing momentum to grow the CIO role into the orchestrator of all things digital (note: I didn’t say “owner”).  Forrester calls the CIOs new organization “Technology Management” to include the operational and IT operations and infrastructure as well as the market-facing technology.  Of course, you would expect this at a conference focused on IT leaders, but remember that Forrester is one of the largest analysts serving the marketing world too.

3. We Will Need to Build Better Communication Skills

Conversations are hard.  Cultural change is needed.  This is fundamental to everything digital.  It’s HARD.  Companies are struggling with it.  And it’s not the technology part that’s the hard part.  It’s the change in culture.  The change in thinking.  And the conversations that go with this fundamental shift are hard conversations to have.  People are just not skilled at doing it.  Especially if it’s an “old-school” company that has been around a long time.  This starts with the CIO-CMO, IT-Marketing partnership but extends to all parts of our businesses who believe there is more to investing in information technology than just getting email on smartphones.

4. Data Centers are Dying

Evolution of the data center is continuing aggressively.  Instead of building or refurbishing owned-facilities, many companies now consider co-location vendors as the preferred solution as it opens up considerable opportunities for creation of public-private cloud environments. Modular data centers are also becoming increasingly prevalent when new facilities are being established.  This is in contrast to some heel-dragging by CIOs reported last year in not moving fast enough to source cloud solutions.

5. DevOps is Gaining Momentum

Instead of implementing ITIL holistically as was once in vogue, more organizations are now focused on creating DevOps teams (combination of traditional development and operational roles) in order to align to a more rapid and iterative product release mentality. The interesting aspect of this evolution (since we already knew the concept of “DevOps” was gaining adoption) is the customer-centric focus being the emerging driver of this adoption.

Thanks to my colleagues Jeff Sage and Shelley Wilson for their collaboration on this post.

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  • Point #3 resonates with me. Poor requirements are still one of the major reasons for failed IT projects. And requirements come down to communication.

    Companies that are able to have clear and open conversations about the business outcomes that they want from their IT spend have a huge advantage here. It’s easy to skip the core business rationale behind a new technology when competitors are adopting, or it’s becoming popular in the marketplace. But taking the time as a team to decide on the outcomes and business priorities of a particular initiative is the basis for a successful IT project.

    Nice post!

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