If pressed to describe the state of IT in 2020, one might use the word “uncertain” — after all, IT teams are being asked to scale faster and handle more than ever before.
In fact, Forrester’s VP and Principal Analyst Brian Hopkins recently described it this way: The fast pace and sporadic nature of business change, due to constant changes in the tech landscape, is now creating an IT environment where uncertainty is the new norm. As a result, CIOs have to be able to cope with change to compete. Which means to push ahead, they have to be the kind of CIO who thrives on it.
So, how should IT leaders and CIOs respond to these changes in 2020? Forrester’s Predictions 2020 report describes this shift and what you need to do to approach change moving into 2020.
The new case for embracing change
According to Forrester data, 96% of CIOs today are involved in some degree of “transformation.” You’ve heard the term. It’s something technology leaders have been talking about for a long time.
So, what’s so different about going with the flow of transformation now?
The CIO’s traditional response in times of change is to cut costs, often in the form of eliminating redundant technologies — what Forrester describes as a recipe for disaster in the current IT environment.
Instead of simply downsizing, analysts found, you have to be able to modernize your environment to be able to pivot fast in the face of change. Maybe even in ways that you don’t feel ready to. That’s why it makes more sense to focus less on merely cutting costs and more on working smarter.
Take microservices, for example. IT departments are going through a paradigm shift involving the adoption of complex and myriad distributed cloud and microservices technologies. These complex multicloud environments come with a promise: the agility you need to deliver the experiences your customers expect. But they also lead to increased complexity, in the form of problematic IT silos, that many companies don’t have the advanced technologies to manage.
It’s this technology-driven innovation that few companies are ready for. Yet it’s technology-driven experiences that define how customers engage with brands. This is where it’s prime time to differentiate.
Transformation for differentiating the customer experience
Back in 2019, Forrester identified another prescient trend: for 81% of brands, customer experience index scores had stagnated. Why?
Because they were delivering the same customer experiences as everyone else.
All tech leaders in the midst of digital “transformation” were in fact looking for common customer pains, solving them with the same technologies, and getting stuck in a cycle of fast-following. It’s how things like mobile check deposit and ridesharing exploded in popularity.
But while it’s easy to replicate another company’s ideas, it doesn’t create meaningful differentiation or put you in a secure position in the long-term. Simply adopting technologies here and there for incremental innovations on existing customer experiences will keep you afloat. But it’s an approach that puts you at risk of losing out to innovators who are modernizing the very core of their systems for sustained agility.
It’s a subtle but different shift in the way you think about technological transformation. In 2020, it’s now a case of asking how technology can enable customer experiences that create long-term differentiation versus simply catching up with what customers expect.
In the face of so much change, there is at least one thing we know for sure: it’s the CIOs who don’t wholeheartedly embrace uncertainty and change that are in danger of falling behind. But decisions still need to be made in order for outcomes to be achieved.
What does that look like? On what exactly should CIOs be focusing their technology investment?
We answered that question and many more about the future of IT at AppDynamics Transform 2020. If you want to learn what it’s going to take to transform the way you think about enabling world-class customer experiences while also driving business growth, click to watch the event on-demand below — accessible 24/7!