Forrester’s tech trends for CIOs by 2020: Automation and artificial intelligence feature strongly

Artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) all feature prominently in Forrester Research’s vision of how technology will transform business between 2018 and 2020.

The 42-page report outlines 10 tech trends and classifies them both in enterprise readiness and the pace of change. One trend – distributed trust systems challenging centralised authorities – is a slow burner in the ‘dawning’ stage, while public cloud is accelerating in the ‘acceptance’ stage.

Three other technological trends are deemed to be accelerating; how employee experiences are redefining apps, digital employees in the white-collar workforce, and immersive customer experiences. The other trend with glacial movement is around insights-driven organisations outpacing their competitors.

One of the more interesting facets was around the concept that software will ‘learn to learn’, placed in the middle of both brackets. “The amount of industry attention puts AI-driven software in the awareness phase, but it’s still early days for many of the advanced techniques like multimodal machine learning and transfer learning,” Forrester explains. “Software that learns instead of requiring programming is coming; when it does, it will profoundly change the role of CIOs and technology managers.”

Regarding blockchain, Forrester recommends CIOs treat it ‘with the respect and scepticism it deserves’, as well as looking for both opportunities and disruptors. “Distributed trust systems today are analogous to the internet in 1990,” the report notes. “Distributed trust systems – and more importantly, tech and business leaders from across the firm – must build the new governance frameworks to guide them before they can affect businesses and restructure markets.”

AI and automation are certainly in vogue right now, but there is still plenty to be done. According to a report from MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group last month, a gap remains between organisations who are interested and those who have taken the plunge with deployments.

You can find out more about the Forrester report here (client access).

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