From talent acquisition and retention and global economic challenges to the technical challenges introduced by the integration of various new devices, there are a number of recurring business and IT challenges business leaders must plan for heading into 2016.
Through conversations with top business leaders, Vodafone has identified eight key challenges and opportunities enterprise CIOs need to be ready to navigate in 2016, including the Dual Global Economy, BYOX, Shadow IT and the five others I've outlined below.
Managing the Dual Global Economy
Organizations must focus on a "dual strategy," reflecting a two-speed global economy. Companies must reduce risk/exposure in developed markets such as Western Europe currently experiencing "slowth" -- slow or no growth -- while actively driving growth in emerging markets to balance flat growth in developed markets. The growth in emerging markets will have a fundamental impact on their IT infrastructure. For many companies this means they need to rebalance their IT investment, resources and strategy to support this growth in emerging markets.
Rise of the end-user and "BYOX"
IT managers must be able to manage the needs of up to four generations in the workplace and manage the shift in IT decision-making spend and power from centralized corporate control to departments, business units and ultimately end-users. Furthermore, BYOD won't be confined to the device. BYOX is the new mantra with consumers bringing their own applications, cloud-sharing tools and social media into the enterprise; essentially bringing their own expectations of which technology they want to use and how and where they want to work in a corporate environment.
Growth of the shadow IT budget
Technology is driving a transformation across multiple parts of business outside the IT department, e.g. in operations, marketing, sales, customer service, etc. As technology continues to transform business, IT infrastructure will become more complex and more difficult to have a complete view of technology across the business. The role of IT will need to become more strategic and set clear lines of accountability between IT and line of business budget holders.
Cybercrime will be a top concern for the 2016 CIO and other business leaders. The problem has been exacerbated by two key issues: the growth of smartphone devices (potentially increasing the number of attack points) and the increased incidence of corporate data residing on personally owned devices. The problem is now too large to be ignored and will be at the forefront for IT decision makers in the coming year.
Talent crunch: 4th generation workforce
Sixty-three percent of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills -- in essence finding and securing the workforce of tomorrow -- particularly the skilled labor they need to take their organizations forward in various global markets. In the US there are 80 million baby boomers who are going to retire over the next five years and they are going to be replaced by 40 million GenX & Y-ers -- that's a 2:1 ratio. Enterprise businesses need to be ready for that transition by developing their "next generation" of staff now.
Technology evolution: SMAC
Traditional business and market value chains will continue to be disrupted through social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technology. Senior management must become well-versed in these technologies and their possibilities to create new value and new competitive advantages in their own business and markets.
Global change and crisis: VUCA
The frequency and intensity of global change and disruption will continue. This is often referred to VUCA -- a military acronym standing for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. VUCA represents the vortex of change that has battered multinational companies over the last few years including Hurricane Sandy and the global banking crisis. Organizations will be challenged to build resilient IT infrastructures that, although unable to predict the future, are resilient enough to allow them to operate under a range of scenarios or to react faster as unexpected change events occurs.
Lastly, it will be important for organizations to guard against the threat of commoditization. As development cycles become shorter and the potential for intellectual property to be recreated and copied increases, it is becoming more difficult to create a sustainable competitive advantage for your products and services. Ultimately business leaders will need to ensure that they can remain relevant to their customers and can protect themselves from business or product extinction.
— Chuck Pol, President, Vodafone Americas , special to The New IP