10 future trends and how CIOs can keep ahead in 2020

After years of digital disruption and uncertainty, the future enterprise is finally coming into focus. Here's a look at what's ahead for IT organizations.

The noted science fiction author William Gibson could have been talking about the state of digital enterprises when he said, "The future is here — it's just not evenly distributed."

While some enterprises have achieved the nirvana of hyperspeed, hyperscale, and hyperconnectivity, many are struggling with siloed digital transformation initiatives, leaving them buffeted by competition and market forces.

There hasn't yet been a "year of reckoning" for CIOs in the digital era, but time for action is growing short as competitors are accelerating their digital efforts. Still, there are concrete actions that CIOs can and must take to create digital-native "future enterprises."

The following predictions, based on the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide CIO Agenda 2020 Predictions, present information about technologies, markets, and ecosystems to help CIOs better understand future trends, their impact on the enterprise, and what steps to take in the year ahead that will set them up for success.

1. By 2024, 80% of digitally advanced organizations will replace the walled garden, IT-as-an-enabler model with a self-service model. Providing libraries of cloud solutions, functions-as-a-service (FaaS), and low-code/no-code tools that are easily accessible and usable by non-IT users or by citizen developers allow the business to rapidly respond to changing market needs without the need to involve IT, but with the assurance that these solutions will be secure and compliant.

To accomplish the transformation, CIOs need a clear vision of a desired future state that is co-developed with business leaders and line of business (LOB) executives and shared broadly with the enterprise and its partners.  


  • Invest in training IT developers to design and develop these digital tools, and partner with tools vendors to leverage their expertise.
  • Build digital platforms with data and services APIs/microservices to create open, self-service environments.
  • Create labs and centers of excellence for LOB developers to work with IT staff for accelerated knowledge transfer.

2. By 2023, 65% of CIOs will be entrepreneurial leaders who evolve their organizations into centers of excellence that engineer enterprisewide collaboration and innovation.   As LOB organizations are infused with technology and tech-savvy leaders and workers, CIOs' most effective role will be building IT organizations that are centers for digital knowledge, technologies, and best practices that can proactively architect and integrate digital efforts across the enterprise. IT leaders and workers will need to become more proactive in driving change by anticipating business needs, IT services and platform staged evolution, and building required skills, capabilities, and influence in real time.

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