CIOs will build their reputations as a digital innovation leader in 2015 and make chief digital officers unnecessary – or be replaced by a CIO who is up to the challenge.

That is one of research company Forrester's predictions for 2015, a year it says CIOs will accelerate the business technology agenda and drive customer obsession into technology management.

"As businesses pursue digital transformation and customer obsession, their CIOs will build their reputation as a digital innovation leader," Forrester said.

This will be driven by CIOs working side-by-side with other business leaders, especially chief marketing officers, as CEOs begin to understand the impact of the age of the customer.

"Already CMOs and CIOs in leading firms like Adidas and Caterpillar have merged their unique competencies to form a partnership with shared goals and business results," Forrester said.

However, Forrester warned that while 2015 will be the year that CIOs and CMOs prove that the CDO role is unnecessary, organisations will not hesitate to find a new CIO if they feel their current business technology leader is not equipped to serve the customer, drive the technology agenda and unlock data-driven business opportunities.

"Are all CIOs up to the challenge? No. But in 2015, any CIO who isn't will be replaced by one who is," Forrester added.