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5 Emerging Tech Trends for CIOs in 2019: A Strategic Perspective

Ganesh V. Iyer, Managing Director and Global CIO, NIO U.S.

In today’s technology industry, CIOs face challenges like never before: a constantly evolving product landscape, changing customer demands, and economic volatility. These challenges make it increasingly difficult to plan for the future and execute launches. In order to successfully maneuver these changes and lead companies to success, technology execs can’t just be tech savvy – they need to think about their business holistically, recognizing the shifting marketplace and the ways in which various technologies can support the bottom line.

Understanding the dynamic business landscape, as well as emerging trends in the space, is equal parts art and science. Let’s walk through the five trends that will help elevate and optimize your approach as CIO in the upcoming year.

Autonomy of Things

This year will kick off a shift from “Internet of Things” to “Autonomy of Things.” While interconnectivity continues to be an important factor for technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation will take the front seat in the development process. According to Gartner, by 2020, at least 40 percent of new app development projects will have AI developers on the team as there’s a clear shift from the Digital Age to Connected Age and now onto the Data Age. To prepare for this shift, CIOs should begin sourcing and training top AI talent now. Organizations won’t just need to be competitive in their suite of products, they’ll need to be competitive employers as well. By determining what attracts AI talent, and proactively hiring the right people this year, companies will find themselves ahead of the pack. We spent last two plus decades in connecting people so now the next two decades to be spent connecting things.

Immersive experiences

When it comes to the consumer experience, we’ll see companies make a marked a shift toward digital experience, rather than digital functionality. Personal tech is a growing, crowded space – in order for companies to differentiate themselves, and retain customers, they’ll need to provide cross-platform, personalized experiences. In order to get ahead of the trend, CIOs should examine their current suite of products and develop creative methods for amplifying their digital customer experiences. Digital Assistants are going into everything, making their support tables takes which is shifting consumer behavior. Voice is becoming the defacto interface on everything.

  By determining what attracts AI talent, and proactively hiring the right people this year, companies will find themselves ahead of the pack 

Market-specific focus

In order to stay ahead of market changes, companies need to listen to real-time feedback from their users. CIOs should develop a dynamic, evolving product roadmap to support those efforts. For example, China’s technology market is largely centered around mobile. Companies looking to go to market in China must keep that in mind throughout the development process. A user-first approach is the most effective way to ensure that product developments are responding to country- and market-specific needs.

Quantum computing

We’ll also see an increase in quantum computing projects. While legacy companies like IBM lead the quantum conversations, companies of all sizes will need to invest in research and development of quantum technologies. The quantum technology market is projected to exceed two billion dollars in sales by the early 2020s. In order to capture a significant portion of this rapidly growing market, CIOs and business leaders should determine how the implementation of quantum technology can best dovetail with existing business goals and product development.

Blockchain technology

The past few years brought blockchain to the forefront of the technology conversation, and it will only become more impactful and innovative in its business applications over the coming years. Gartner predicts that blockchain technology will exceed 3.1 trillion dollars in business values by 2030. Given the increasing prevalence of blockchain, organizations should prioritize blockchain literacy, and invest in research and analysis to determine how best to leverage this emerging technology.

There’s no easy path when it comes to navigating the constantly evolving technology landscape. CIOs that are successful have a forward-thinking mindset that champions for more investment in AI and automation to solve business challenges, and uses real-time user feedback to inform key business decisions. The bottom line is that, in order to be successful, CIOs must proactively implement initiatives that align with industry trends, rather than simply react to changes within the industry.

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