Economic trends shape a CIO’s strategic perspective

The emerging digital business opportunities stemming from mobile, social and cloud technology trends mean more CIOs than ever are being asked to think strategically and help shape future business strategy.

In order to put technology trends into proper business context, CIOs must also track emerging business trends around the globe and be able to predict their impact on the organisation.

As part of Forrester’s ongoing research on business technology strategic planning, we identified a number of key business trends CIOs should watch.

Three of these trends focus on how changes impacting people will impact business: A global population shift; changes in communication habits; and the globalization of the workforce (see Figure).

1 A Global population shift
Shifting population profiles will have significant potential impact on future business strategy for many organisations, whether operating in a single country/region or globally.

While the global population has passed 7 billion, adding 1 billion to the number in just the past 12 years, it's not necessarily the top-line population number we need to pay attention to — it's the underlying shift in population age groups that we predict will have the strongest impact on business strategy.

Aging baby-boomer populations across the first-world economies will rapidly move into retirement over the next 19 years, leaving both public and private sector employers in these regions struggling to replace a lifetime of acquired expertise about to walk out the door with their most senior managers and experienced staff.

In addition, the economic impact of the baby boomers moving into retirement will be significant.

Whatever your organisation’s business, you’re likely to need a strategy to deal with the double impact of retiring workers and changing consumer demographics.

In regions where retirees will deplete the workforce, executives remaining must find new ways to prevent attrition of collective corporate intelligence.

For example, consider establishing social collaboration networks for your company's alumni and use these networks to retain access to the knowledge of the retired workforce.

Also, allow the best employees to work beyond retirement, possibly engaging them on a part-time basis to help with knowledge transfer.

Competition for new employees with experience will is going to get even more intense, and many firms are already establishing high-performer career development programs to help attract and retain top talent.

At the same time, executives must anticipate significant changes in market demand for products and services consumed by an aging workforce in first-world economies and maturing workforces in the emerging economies like China.

Companies will need advanced data analytics to provide early warnings and anticipate these trends, allowing time to adjust product and service strategies to meet the evolving markets.

Customer loyalty in emerging economies will be an important strategic weapon as young workforces mature, requiring advanced customer loyalty programs focused on a highly tailored mobile experience.

Questions you should consider include:
-  How will retirement impact my workforce in the next 5 – 10 years? What strategies do we need to offset the loss of expertise?

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