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Top 10 strategy tips for the busy CIO – part 2

Becoming a successful CIO in today’s ultra-competitive, fast-paced digital economy requires a different mindset than was required just 5 years ago. Technology is changing so rapidly and is now more than ever a key differentiator in all lines of the business cycle. Staying lean and agile and keeping eyes and ears open to the emerging and disruptive changes in the market place requires insight, open-mindedness, quick thinking, and decisiveness in order to pivot and make adjustments when necessary.




Remember the elevator ride we discussed in part one? You have a minute of your CIO’s undivided attention to share the latest and greatest takeaways that will inform his technology strategy in the months and years ahead.

We’ve covered several key points already, so let’s pick up where we left off:

Internet of Things is the next Big thing: Internet of Things (connecting physical objects to the web) represents the next major disruption of the Internet. Cisco thinks IoT will have five to 10 times the impact on society as the Internet itself and is projecting a $19 trillion dollar market in the next decade. Should the Internet of Everything even become a fraction of this, CIOs better not miss out on this epic trend.

Understand the Future of the Internet: Pew Research recently released an influential report called Digital Life in 2025 that brought together many experts to crystallize 15 predictions about the digital future. A nice summary of the 15 predictions are offered here. CIOs should not miss the implications of this report!

Leverage 3-D Printing: This disruptive technology may well spawn the next industrial revolution. It requires low overhead and puts prototyping and manufacturing easily in the hands of the small business innovator. As one source points out, “For $1,299 . . . anyone can now buy a 3D printer, hook it up to a wi-fi network, and begin downloading files that will turn into real objects.” CIOs need to acknowledge impacts and recognize lower costs alternatives to their production cycles.

Be smart about Smart machines: Technologies driven by artificial intelligence will dramatically transform our offices and homes. Examples are contextually aware devices (smartphones that user information influence computer behavior), intelligent virtual personal assistants, smart advisors (think IBM Watson), advanced global industrial systems, and driverless cars. Gartner says that the smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT and one study claims that nearly 47% of all current U.S. jobs may be outsourced to smart machine in the next two decades.

Get onboard with Telepresence robotics: The virtual worker is becoming major factor in business development today and companies are scrambling to adapt. Telepresence robots are creating new options for employees to collaborate remotely. The market is supposed to reach $13 billion by 2017 and while costs are still on the high end, prices will fall as the technology continues to develop.

Educate and empower your employees: Over the past 3 years Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs for short, have disrupted education by offering high quality courses to a global audience for free. Online learning platforms like Udacity, Coursera, Khan Academy, and edX now provide a convenient way for your employees to brush up on a new skill, inspire novel ideas about an existing project, or give them tools to develop a new career path.

Well, that slow elevator has arrived at the 10th floor and in just 60 seconds you’ve managed to give your CIO a quick pitch on the latest strategic trends in today’s digital economy. You had to talk real fast but you’ve covered the essentials!




CIOs are walking a fine line today because the stakes are high. Technology is changing faster than ever and keeping up with the market, matching customer expectations, and driving revenue are a tall order. CIOs need to stay focused on essentials. They must understand, adopt, and build strategies around key emerging and disruptive technologies. They should start by using Gartner’s “Nexus of Forces” as a guide and then look at technologies that are organically linked to them.

A final exhortation is important: those who fail to pay attention to these trends now will not only imperil their company’s future but most likely will be looking for other work within the next year. Don’t be like “that” CIO who is resistant to change and disruption. By following these strategic “quick tips” you’ll help put your organization on the road to competitive advantage and success.


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About Jeffrey Walker

I reside in the Greater Boston area where I am employed as a Systems Consultant in Emerging Technology for a major financial services company. My experience in the technology sector has consisted of various roles, ranging from startup entrepreneur to web developer and research/support analyst. I’m also a budding hobbyist in the field of Telepresence Robotics and am interested in how these devices can provide viable solutions for the growing virtual workforce; I blog on the topic at Twitbotics.com.

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