As the curtain on 2017 comes down there’s every reason for CIOs and their teams to look forward to the New Year – and not just for a well-earned break.
There’s much to be fascinated by. Customer experience continues to be a key focus. Experimentation is moving beyond basic website optimisation to server-side testing across all customer touchpoints. Also expect to see more artificial intelligence solutions starting to appear as our omnichannel world gathers pace. All of which will take IT in fresh directions in 2018.
Having said that, 80 per cent of the IT team’s work won’t change, playing to the knowledge and skills that have been honed over the last 12 months and more. For most IT leaders there will be a sense of unfinished business. They’ll be looking at plans that’ll stay on a steady path, rather than taking sharp turns. There’s a sense that extra funding will appear – bucking flat or negative budget trends – as boards continue to see the growing value of IT’s contribution.
That’s certainly the case when I speak with customers. They genuinely feel upbeat. And when they talk about the big problems they need to solve the conversation usually revolves around four topics:
Staying ahead of cyber-crime
Rigid, manual processes and siloed technologies have had their day. And security products are easy to buy. But organisations don’t always have the internal resources or expertise to get the best out of them. Or the headroom to trawl through loads of dense reports and detailed logs.
That’s why more and more customers are moving to a fully managed, cloud-based approach. IT teams need powerful tools and real-time threat intelligence to spot and stop threats in their tracks. Now, more than ever.
Moving safely into the cloud
When it comes to the cloud, failing to plan really is planning to fail. Most CIOs have figured out which services should be hosted on which platforms. Many are looking at hybrid public/private solutions.
So, the challenge is less about strategy and more about execution. First, ensuring systems and applications are integrated; then migrating them in the right fashion. That’s when cloud becomes a real game-changer. It’s also one of the toughest challenges customers have.
Scaling for business growth and innovation
The days of building large IT empires are long gone. Outsourcing commodity functions to cope with growth is set to continue. In effect creating an agile, resource pool. CIOs are looking for partnerships to free-up in-house talent. So, they can speed-up transformational projects and time-to-benefit for the business.
Dedicated innovation teams are on the rise, too. At 3M, for example, innovation forms part of the employee contract. People get to spend up to 15 per cent of their day working on new ideas.
Harnessing the Internet of Things
IoT is no longer a vision or in the realms of blue sky futurology. The underlying technology is mature, less expensive and higher performing. Creative is supporting several major projects, helping our customers make better decisions, using fresh insights captured through wireless networks, sensors and data analytics.
So, returning to our theme, do you feel ready to go for 2018? Don’t worry if you’re not. At Creative we’ve seen all these trends coming and we’ve planned our business around them. So, when you get onboard with us, you won’t feel let down or get a bumpy ride.
Enjoy your New Year.
Keith Ali, Managing Director