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CIO must think like VC

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Forrester recently outlined its key predictions for this year and says CIOs will need to look beyond just technology if they hope to turn their tech management departments into the digital transformation office.

A report, CIOs Make the Chief Digital Officer Obsolete, points out that CEOs will be putting pressure on their CIOs to deliver on platform-based business models and new partnership ecosystems.

“Experimentation, minimum viable products, and labs are so 2017. In 2018, digital business transformation will be played out at scale, sparking shifts in organisational structure, operating models, and technology platforms,” writes Pascal Matzke, Forrester VP research director serving CIOs in the report. “In 2018, CEOs will expect their CIOs to lead digital efforts by orchestrating the enabling technologies, closing the digital skills gap, and linking arms with CMOs and other executive peers better positioned to address the transformational issues across business silos.”

According to Forrester, by the end of 2018, around 40% of the revenues of global industrial firms (like GE or Siemens) will be based on asset usage or other software-enabled service schemes. In addition, more aggressive companies will shift their traditional business models into business platforms, reaching customers directly or through intermediaries and partners.

Matzke points out that while some companies may build their own platforms, most will have to learn to deliver over one, regardless of the ownership. He also says CIOs will need to gear up their underlying technologies and supplier relationships in order to meet the new business model.

In 2018, CEOs will find ways to replicate the agility of smaller, non-listed companies, going so far as to spin off or divest parts of their business to allow unencumbered focus on their digital ambitions. According to the report, change will be the constant companion for the CIO in 2018 and they will need to make use of concepts like Agile, DevOps, and design thinking to enable faster delivery of capabilities across the enterprise.

Forrester’s report notes that key to effective change in 2018 will be CIOs being able to find and retain the necessary talent as well as upgrading both culture and structure of their organisation to meet customer expectations. This, suggests Matzke, will present CIOs with the unique opportunity to position themselves as leaders of transformation and even the enterprise.

Co-developing skills with partners; cross training tech staff in business skills; tapping into the gig economy; and automating where appropriate will allow CIOs to address their skills issues.

On the plus side, Forrester points out that the growth in cloud will result in a shift in operations to third-parties. At the same time, Agile, DevOps, automation, and low/no code will become the norm in more mature technology shops and quality technology will be delivered faster, and at a more cost effective price point.

The report goes on to advise CIOs to collaborate throughout the organisation, starting with marketing to help bring a more Agile and flexible approach to serving the customer.

Technology forms a cornerstone of digital transformation and the report points out that turning to new technologies and developing predictive analysis capabilities will allow organisations to continuously stay ahead of changing customer desires.

Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things will remain a focus for CIOs into 2018, although Forrester has cautioned that those expecting major upheavals from blockchain-based networks will be disappointed. The company does, however, believe that quantum computing will continue to attract both interest and investment throughout 2018.

Finally, the report outlines how CIOs should think like venture capitalists to ensure success. By adopting a portfolio management approach to tracking, testing, and implementing new technologies, CIOs can back the best performing products and solutions, ensuring success. In fact, Matzke goes so far as to say that the evolved positioning of the CIO will ultimately make the role of the chief digital officer (CDO) obsolete.

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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