The outlook for CIOs in the world’s big companies will be shaped this year by ever more intensive efforts to digitize, and by the uncertainty and rapid pace of change that stem from these efforts. Here are five trends to take into account.
From projects to products: Two-thirds of IT functions will begin to change their operating models in 2017, moving from a focus on funding and delivering projects, to a model that aligns funding, development resources, and ongoing management support around a set of enduring product lines.
The move comes as IT leaders realize that project-centric plan/build/run approaches are ill-suited to an era of rapidly changing, business-led, digital initiatives, and that Agile, DevOps and continuous delivery cannot simply be grafted on to older ways of operating.
The rise of the “fusion team”: Fusion teams will become an important feature of many IT groups this year. A fusion team can be temporary or standing and draws resources from across IT, or from IT and other parts of the business and third parties. Team members cut across organizational hierarchies and collaborate on overlapping in tasks and responsibilities.
Agile and DevOps teams are well-known examples, but there are plenty of others. Fusion teams create more flexibility than can be achieved within any single organizational structure and are more efficient than constantly tweaking the org chart to create new groups or reassign responsibilities.
Versatility and learning agility become hot skills: Every year “hot skills” emerge as IT teams scramble to hire the talent they need. 2017’s hot skills will include versatility and learning agility. There’s already been a 20% increase in IT job descriptions that seek versatile candidates with multiple areas of technical expertise, or combine technical depth with competencies such as influencing or communications, according to CEB data.
Learning agility is also on the up with a 30% increase in recent job descriptions in references to the ability to rapidly learn new skills or acquire new knowledge.
A year for data strategy: Companies now sit on a mountain of data and insight but many see little value. What’s missing is a cohesive data strategy, so expect a surge in data strategy efforts in 2017. There is also likely to be a 50% increase in chief data officers (CDOs), according to CEB analysis.
There’s a lot of debate about whether CDOs belong inside or outside IT. But for the most effective what’s more important is devoting their time to three areas – encouraging the development of a data strategy, evangelizing data’s potential, and building the IT team’s analytical skills. They spend much less time on the thankless task of clarifying data ownership.
IT risk management gets real: In 2016 technology outages left a number of airlines, banks, and others temporarily unable to operate their businesses. There is also an ever growing list of household names that disappeared because they failed to adapt to technology-driven changes to their business models.
These experiences are promoting rising interest in IT risk management – an approach to identifying and assessing all risks posed to the business by technology. While cybersecurity and compliance feature prominently, other major risks relate to IT strategy, project delivery, legacy system maintenance, budget discipline, vendor performance, data quality, and shortages of critical IT skills.