Having leveraged the cloud and making the best out of mobility and analytics, tech leaders are now gearing up for the next wave of digital disruption.
While technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, AR/VR and quantum computing are no longer viewed as differentiators, industry experts have warned tech leaders to be wary of the ‘shiny object syndrome’ and not deploy emerging technologies without a proper course of action.
In the latter half of 2018, Gartner made a rather alarming prediction – it was predicted that 85 percent of AI projects will not deliver for CIOs. Risk and confusion were touted to be the two main reasons for the dismal failure rates for AI projects.
From the Uber self-driving catastrophe to the spectacular collapse of distributed ledger-based cryptocurrencies, the enterprise tech landscape has seen its fair share of failures. And in most cases, the underlying reason for failure has remained constant – organizations are under-prepared when it comes to deploying emerging technologies.
A similar phenomenon unravelled in the blockchain space as well – tech leaders banked upon the fact that decentralization could bolster integrity. But this wasn’t the case – the global tech landscape witnessed three top bitcoin exchanges, fall prey to hacking in fairly quick succession.
In Gartner’s CIO Agenda 2019, it was revealed that 40 percent of CIOs in top-performing organizations believed AI and ML to be game changers. In comparison, that number stood at a mere 7 percent in the 2018 survey. Similarly, blockchain, as a game changing technology, witnessed a five-fold increase in Gartner’s 2019 survey. Interestingly, top, average and trailing performers had the same stance when it came to identifying blockchain as a game changer.
CIOs have woken up to the need for a sound technology roadmap and realized why a rollout plan ought to have a business-driven agenda at its heart. CIO India, upon engaging with CIOs from different verticals, finds that strategies not designed to scale and speed are doomed to fail.
Related: State of the CIO Survey 2019
Your tech roadmap ought to have a business agenda at its heart
The Chief Information and Innovation Officer of a leading airline in India highlights that organizations which consider technology as driver have a strong tech vision and an exclusive digital roadmap when compared to others which consider digital as a mere enabler. “The culture of an organization defines its tech appetite and influences its roadmap,” he explains.
So why do we see so many tech projects failing?
"Even before we talk about the tech vision, the first thing that needs to be addressed is the business vision. You need to ask yourself what is your business, customer, finance, and people strategy. Most technology projects fail just because they do not have a crystal clear strategy chalked out; goals and targets are not aligned with the technologies," opines the CIO of one of the largest automotive component manufacturers in the country.
"For instance, if you want to implement AR/VR for training purposes or IoT at one of your plants, you need to first evaluate if you have the right tech know-how; you need to justify revenue growth; figure out how many people can be reduced from the line. If these objectives are not well-defined, projects may drastically fail," he explains.
He believes that although business and technology ought to work hand in hand, transformative projects deploying emerging technologies should be owned by business functions, and not by IT. This, in his opinion, ensures the success of the project.
Rolling out a clear and achievable tech roadmap
While a crystal clear tech vision serves as the foundation for organizational transformation, it is an actionable roadmap that ultimately helps achieve the goal.
CIOs pointed out that the key factor in designing a transparent and achievable roadmap lies in factoring for scale and agility.
The Head of Digital Security, Enterprise Applications, and Business Analytics at a healthcare major, had shared on a tweet that at least 40 percent of all businesses will phase out in the next 10 years if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.
He believes that CIOs can play the role of an IT evangelist and set up a techno-business matrix in place. “Setup desired goals with current business problem and assign ratings. Think solution from scalability which will not be confined to solve single problem but can help and solve multiple problems,” he explains.
The CIO from the aviation space, who’s also a pioneer in deploying emerging tech like AI and robotics, shares his 5-point approach in creating a clear and achievable tech roadmap. He believes it’s imperative for a roadmap to account for scale, speed and scope.
While the enterprise stands poised at the cusp of massive tech transformations brought about by the combined prowess of AI, blockchain, AR/VR and quantum computing, CIOs must see themselves as enablers and play the role of a business transformer.