In 2018, the CIO role team at Forrester has stepped up its emphasis on technology and technology innovation. Now we believe it’s time for you to up your game.

At the beginning of the year, we made some big shifts in our research alignment. I moved from enterprise architecture to the CIO role, for example. As a result, my coverage of big data and systems of insight is moving to a strategic level. I’m also permanently shifting my top technology trends and top emerging technology series into the CIO role.

We have also added big names like Jeffrey S. Hammond and J.P. Gownder to our CIO technology analyst lineup, which already includes the likes of Frank E. Gillett and Martha Bennett. I’m honored to be working alongside these technology heavyweights.

Possibly the biggest move we made, however, was hiring back James Staten, an award-winning analyst whose coverage of cloud several years ago defined the industry. After a stint at Microsoft and cloud-neutral colo leader Equinix, he’s back on the CIO role team and adding his expertise to our power lineup.

What Does All This Power Mean For Our Clients?

These changes are going to help our clients better drive technology innovation with future-oriented strategies. This future is coming at us faster than we expected, thanks to exponential trends like Metcalfe’s Law and Bezos’s Law that are picking up speed just as Moore’s Law reaches the limitations imposed by physics. Our clients are going to see:

  • Better alignment of economic, tech spend forecasting, and technology trends. Andy Bartels, another long-standing heavyweight analyst on our team, just released his report US Tech Market Outlook For 2018 And 2019, in which he shows that the ongoing cloud transformation of technology environments toward SaaS and PaaS drives continued growth in US tech spending. He also highlights the emergence of new technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing. These continue to capture interest and investment in software. His report encourages CIOs to ensure they are increasing tech spend to avoid getting left behind.
  • More on emerging technologies and technology trends. I have been writing top technology trends and top emerging technologies reports during my seven years at Forrester. By bringing these reports into the CIO role and stacking the deck with analysts, we will expand our coverage beyond just one report a year. We will release our “Top Emerging Technologies To Watch” report next week, but we are also going deeper on each technology in our list. For example, check out my blog and short report on quantum computing. I’m now planning more research into the emerging market of quantum hardware and software vendors as well as a heat map of potential use cases.
  • A forum dedicated to new technology and technology innovation. New technology investment is extricable from technology innovation, according to our data. For example, in 2018, investing in emerging technology was the No. 1 thing enterprises plan to do to innovate among those that said innovation was a priority. On July 18 and 19, we will be holding Forrester’s first multiday New Tech & Innovation 2018 forum. The CIO team has worked with our events team to drive the agenda around our top emerging technologies and our innovation research. I’ll have the honor of hosting again, but this year, you can expect an ensemble cast in our opening keynote. Of course, we will discuss emerging technologies like blockchain and deep learning. However, we will also explore the connections between them that are driving innovation chains. These are groups of related technologies that build on each other to create breakthrough solutions.

You Can No Longer Afford To Wait

Part of our plan in stepping up our technology coverage in the CIO role is to strengthen our innovation research, specifically, the link between technology and innovation. Bobby Cameron (another industry big shot) and James Staten have taken on this task with a little help from me. Here are two reports on technology innovation we’re about to release that I’m excited about:

  • “Advanced Digital Businesses Are Winning With Tech-Driven Business Innovation.” In this report, Bobby Cameron points out that the most mature firms are letting emerging technology guide their technology innovation agenda. Bobby and I call this “tech-driven business innovation.” This is in opposition to the lagging firms, which tend to apply emerging technologies to their existing problems and requirements.
  • “Not All Innovations Are Created Equal.” James Staten’s first report since returning provides a much-needed classification structure for types of innovation. He encourages clients to avoid the innovation trap of “creeping incrementalism.” Instead, he thinks firms absolutely must become disruptors themselves. He’ll be presenting his research at our New Tech & Innovation 2018 Forum. However, here’s a sneak peek – even fast followers could be in trouble! You have to get ahead of the curve or you risk getting left behind.

In Conclusion

Bobby, James, Andy, and I have all reached the same conclusion – now is not the time to sit back. To be successful, CIOs must invest more in technology than their competitors do. The shift to cloud and the continued scaling of big data are one force. The emergence of new compute paradigms like edge, serverless, and quantum computing are another.

Check out Alex Woodie’s article Power Laws and the Never-Ending Big Data Boom. CIOs must invest in an engine that will let their firms keep pace.

(This post originally appeared on the Forrester Research blog, which can be viewed here).

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