No one can truly predict the future, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. It’s just too much fun. We asked CIOs, research firms and a few tech vendors to predict the IT and tech trends that will shape the new year. It’s by no means a scientific or definitive list. But it hopefully captures some of the big lessons we’ve learned this year, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
BDP International CIO Angela Yochem
We’ll see more revenue-focused tech divisions inside companies. “The value of technology will be amplified in the corporate world, drastically changing a company’s execution strategy,” says Angela Yochem, CIO of BDP International Inc. She predicts there will be a push by forward-thinking corporate boards to create revenue-focused technology divisions across industries, citing examples like General Electric Co., Wal-Mart StoresInc.WMT +2.65% and Starbucks Corp.SBUX +2.46% In 2015 it will explode, she says. “We’ll see the rise of digital products and services well beyond consumer industries to major industrials and B2B.” In its 2015 predictions for IT services, Gartner Inc. notes that “the advent of digital business signals a new era, when IT will be integral to driving revenue growth.”
Bob Fecteau, CIO of SAIC Inc.
Payments security gets big, thanks to Chip/PIN and Apple Pay. “One of the most impactful things that will happen is that the banking industry is going to have to get a handle on credit card security, and we may see a whole new level of security begin to take shape next year,” says Bob Fecteau, CIO at SAIC Inc. “If we don’t renovate the point-of-sale challenges that are being so openly exploited today, the financial impacts could be significant.” While mobile payments through services like Apple Pay will continue to develop, how to secure those new payments systems will likely dominate the conversation.
Creative Solutions in Healthcare
Creative Solutions in Healthcare CIO Shawn Wiora
Security, security, security. Thanks to Sony 6758.TO +0.86%, the biggest IT development for 2015 will be ubiquitous security initiatives, said Shawn Wiora, CIO at Creative Solutions in Healthcare. “Anybody, domestic or foreign, will charge at companies in a way that will be purposeful and will deliver results.” We could write a book on this one, so we’ll leave it be for now.
Eric Singleton, CIO of Chico’s FAS Inc.
The wearables market starts to mature. Wearables have ended up on many a CIO Journal list this end-of-year. They were named one of the biggest stories of 2014. They were also called a cliché, surrounded by hype but not yet at their full potential. More companies will try to achieve that potential next year. Eric Singleton, CIO of Chico’s FAS Inc., says the advancement of all things mobile, including wearables, will be one of the most important developments in 2015. “The challenge will be to understand the interplay between the devices and where the behavioral handoffs are,” he says. “I believe the companies who get it right relative to their respective industries will gain a measurable edge during the year.”
Equinix Inc. CIO Brian Lillie
The talent battle wages on. As the mysterious “purple unicorns” continue to elude hiring managers, creating a positive corporate culture will be a key strategy for attracting and retaining top IT talent. “Strategic IT leaders are a hot commodity and those with specific technical skillsets…are going to be able to name their price,” EquinixInc.EQIX +0.33% CIO Brian Lillie said. He plans to make Equinix a place where employees “feel appreciated, valued, and love their teammates (including their CIO!), and they feel they can be developed and have a career here.”
The data pile continues to grow, and companies figure out how to manage it. As the data economy grows, companies will look to external data sources to better understand their customers’ behaviors, Forrester notes in its 2015 predictions. Srikanth Velamakanni, CEO of Fractal Analytics, says 2015 will be the year that the type and quality of data companies own will become a differentiator. “People will have to get more creative and see from other angles they didn’t see earlier,” he said. “Bringing in a new source of data … will add a new dimension to their overall competitive positioning in the business.” (Case in point: Oracle Corp. this month said it would buy Datalogix Holdings Inc., a startup with a trove of information about customer shopping habits.) As data plays an increasingly important role across business units, Mr. Velamakanni predicts CIOs will be called upon to take the lead when it comes to analytics. CIOs will have to manage that influx of data, and create sound strategies around how analytics are used throughout the business.
Did your 2015 prediction make the list? Send us a note and let us know.