7 Top CIO trends that will emerge in 2021


Now that we’ve settled into 2021 there is a much wider recognition that technology made a significant difference this past year and will do so in the coming years for business as well as individuals.  Everyone has predictions for what technologies CIOs should prepare for and admittedly most of them are accurate. However, there is more to preparing for the future than just technology.  2020 took existing tempos and sped them up, moved businesses to a virtual environment and created a whole new collage of seven trends that I feel today’s CIOs should be aware of in 2021


7 trends CIOs should watch in 2021

Over the last several months I have had the opportunity to speak with many boards and executives around the globe about the current and emerging trends they are keeping their eyes on in 2021 and one thing is for sure, CIOs can likely look forward to the same, and possibly more change in the near future.  There’s one underlying tone to each of my conversations:  be careful, they are not all technology related.  

So, if you are wondering what trends CIOs are thinking about in 2021, read on.


1. Cyber threat sophistication will not slow down

Although we are getting better at protection, the bad actors are also getting more sophisticated and the threat vectors are increasing.  Cybercriminals are successful in large part because many organizations are not carrying out due diligence in addressing the core problems of business email compromise, phishing, ransomware and other threats that are transforming into formidable threats.


2. Having the right knowledge, skills and abilities will be key to success

Competition for top talent isn’t likely to slacken and will demand sufficient budgets, flexible talent sources, crowdsourcing, and careful examination of full- and part-time team members already connected to the company. This will become an expanding necessity to meet development/ automation and advanced analytical needs.


3. Continued digital transformation must focus on user and customer experiences

Digital transformation is the investment in innovative technologies, business models and value streams that enhances customer and user experiences which allows an enterprise to gain competitive advantage in an evolving digital economy.  This is a very positive transformation, but CIOs need to be careful, because you may be creating more vulnerabilities than you might have expected. 



4. Fast IT will continue to get faster

Agile and DevOps are hot topics today in our fast paced and high velocity environment.  For most companies, these aggressive deployment techniques can often evolve so fast that they create critical vulnerabilities.  In today’s environment where a single app can change an entire market, smaller, more frequent changes are required to support the business agility. 


5. More aggressive compliance requirements will require balancing performance and conformance

It is mind-blowing the growth of laws, rules and regulations with regards to security and privacy.  This is tipping the scale between performance and compliance (or performance).  This is forcing some companies to become checklist compliant and not focus on the risk-based scenarios that the company faces. These are not going away, they will only become more complex as we see further changes.


6. It’s time to get back to service management and value co-creation basics

I wouldn’t say this is new, but the spirit of value co-creation is most definitely making a comeback.  In the last several years many companies have been so aggressive in their technical growth that they left one thing behind:  their consumers and customers.  When talking to CIOs, we’re obviously seeing the movement back to the basics of service management and that is the idea of value co-creation.  


7. Culture, diversity and inclusion will set apart the good from the bad organisations

A diverse environment brings a far-reaching set of life experiences and backgrounds to the table that can open up new ways to solve challenges or address problems. I believe it’s more than just getting the right ‘numbers’ but ensuring that you have a wide diversity of thinking, knowledge, experiences and backgrounds and if you look at the research, organisations that focus on this show positive results such as increased performance, greater innovation, top talent recruiting and employee engagement.  


ITSM Report 2021