One simple chart shows what CIOs will focus on for the foreseeable future

IDC presents its annual forecast of key technologies and trends for 2014. Find out what’s coming of age, and what’s still a ways off


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I could look at this CIO research for days. Or at least more than the usual handful of seconds.

As part of its annual forecast of what will dominate the agendas of most CIOs in the year to come, IDC decided to plot out its main points a little differently. There’s a mix of technologies that will be adopted, strategies and what can probably only be described as “issues” IT departments will face in 2014. The bigger the bubbles, the tougher they’ll be. The farther to the right, the longer it’s going to take. The higher up they are, the bigger the impact.

Anything jumping out yet?

That’s right. Nothing will have greater impact than big data and mobility, though perhaps not as quickly as we might expect. According to David McNally, IT Executive Advisor at IDC, only 40 percent of CIOs will rise to the challenge of big data by 2017.

“The business leaders recognize the value of analytics, and there’s strong appetite for investments in this area,” he said during a Webinar last week. “They tell us the technology is the easy part, the hard part is the business case and analytical skills. Many companies don’t have them. IT is going to have to step up to the challenge of analytical skills.”

McNally suggested companies tackle this by developing existing internal staff to master analytics, in part because of the scarcity of talent in the market. There will be a huge demand for dashboards that visualize data. Given that mobility is the next big item on the long-term CIO priority list, business decision-makers will probably be expecting much of that data and those dashboards to be accessible via smartphones, which means organizations will have to have a mobile network prepared to perform anytime, anywhere.

Sometimes these analyst forecasts of CIO research are hard to swallow, but one part of IDC’s Webcast suggested that IT departments are making more progress than their business leaders realize.  Look at the chart again, and where cloud computing sits. McNally said 70 percent of CIOs will increase enterprise exposure to the cloud. After too much hype and “cloud fatigue in 2011, he said, “Cloud services will move to the top of the agenda in 2014, and CIOs are anxious to discuss it.”

If the cloud does as promised, and offer enterprises more agility in the allocation of resources and provision of services, it could become the means to make CIOs more successful in developing strategies that make use of big data and mobility.

Here’s your homework: Take this chart and map out where your organization sits along the various axis. Better to know how the various bubbles are going to be before they burst.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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