I thought I would take a look back at some of the predictions I have made over the last few years. I was relieved to see I wasn’t widely out with all of them. In 2012 I talked about the move from data to insight, the death of the laptop (a rather lingering death it has to be said) and the rise of healthcare tech. At the start of this year I predicted the spread of digital disruption (fairly obvious admittedly), the rise of experience innovation and smartphones becoming proactive. Before I start to feel too smug however, I also summarily dismissed drones.

This year I thought I would share five things that I have learnt in the last twelve months. Some of this is with a sense of relief, some a sense of frustration but they are all things I think (or hope) will play a roll in how things pan out for 2016:

I is for…..?
What does the I in CIO actually stand for? This year it seems that it has become harder and harder to define what the role actually is. This is a both a threat and an opportunity. There is definitely an opportunity for the I to be used to harness the pent up frustration in business to drive  information, innovation and insight. However, unless CIOs stand up and take ownership, take more risks and embrace new experiences then it is likely some if not all of the interesting stuff will be given to the new kids on the block and I will simply stand for Infrastructure.

Gartner gets it wrong
This is not news to most people but they are getting it wrong more and more frequently. The dire predictions about CMOs stealing tech budgets and the rise of the CDO in the enterprise did not come to pass. CMOs are still reluctant to take ownership of technology and capex projects, preferring the agency Opex retainer  and CDOs remain a rare breed because it is all about embedding digital in the business not creating a new role, department, empire.  That is not to say the threats aren’t there (see point 1) but perhaps they are not coming from the direction Gartner thought they would, the CIO not embracing change fast enough.

D is for….?
Data – yes again. Not big data this time though. This time it is about the rise in a new science, which seeks to combine the psychology of human behavior and forensic science techniques with data analytics to start really driving forward predictive analytics. Companies like Symanto are at the forefront of the next wave of data science and it’s a wave that CIOs need to ride Data is coming out of the backroom and becoming properly integrated with user experience.

So this is where the whining starts. One of the things I was really hoping to see this year was some serious investment in tech talent here in the UK. Yes there are initiatives and yes there is lots of people banging on about teaching kids to code but when it comes to putting serious money into training young people across Britain on the type of tech that really matters we are a long way from where we should be. Maybe I will start one of the petitions online. If I can work Donald Trump in there somewhere that should secure the numbers I need! In all seriousness though companies need to start investing - through apprenticeships or internships – in young people. We can learn as much from them as they will from us. The future of business will not be built by 50 year olds and if we don’t harness them then they will go and do it themselves and it will be your business that gets disrupted next…

Comms becomes critical
This year the CIO has had to add a few new skills to his kit bag and probably the most critical of these has been effective comms. This is not just about the CIOs ability to communicate with the board – it goes wider than that. Technology is at the heart of one of the biggest changes that business has seen in the last century and for businesses to adapt this change has to be driven right across the business.

Like any big transformational programme; this cannot be done without effective communication. In fact I would go as far as to say that if you are looking for a New Year’s resolution then ‘Be more extrovert’ would probably be a good one for many of you. CIOs need to get better at using marketing techniques to sell both themselves and their teams. This is not something many are comfortable with but if you want the authority and the investment that will enable you to really make a difference then it is necessary.

So that just about wraps 2015 up for me. Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas.