Many modern CIOs have adopted the mantra: No technology for technology\u2019s sake.\n\nYet they and other tech-enthusiasts still get enamored with the newest tool or excited by the latest leap in digital innovation. Caught up in the buzz, they can convince themselves that a hyped technology\u2019s value proposition must be a fit for their company.\n\n\u201cThe tech world is ablaze with emerging technologies that have the potential to transform the way we live, work, and learn,\u201d says Jeff Wong, global chief innovation officer at professional services firm EY. \u201cWe\u2019ve seen similar hype-cycle environments come and go before. While there\u2019s incredible promise of transformation from these new technologies, the buzz around it can lead people to believe that implementing the innovation is immediate, but it\u2019s not.\u201d\n\nThe trick, he and others say, is to see each technology as it really is \u2014 including its potential pitfalls and drawbacks along with its promised potential. In other words, strategic and transformational IT leaders know how to separate the dream from the reality.\n\nWith that in mind, we asked CIOs to share with their peers the technologies they think are overhyped, and their thoughts on how to right-size expectations for each one. Here\u2019s what they have to say about the most overhyped tech in IT today.\n\n1. The metaverse\n\nDespite the excitement \u2014 or perhaps because of it \u2014 multiple CIOs name the metaverse as the most overhyped tech. These CIOs say that metaverse enthusiasts, including vendors who have a stake in its promotion, have created a sense that this technology will have us all living in a new digital realm. Most aren\u2019t buying it.\n\n\u201cCould it turn out to be great? Well, possibly. But so many other things have to change in order for that to work,\u201d says Bob Johnson, CIO of The American University of Paris, who extended his comments to include the related technologies of extended reality (XR), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR). \u201cThey have some wonderful applications, but they don\u2019t change the way we live.\u201d\n\nHe adds: \u201cIf we believe the Hollywood perspective, the metaverse would change everything, but the stuff that\u2019s invisible, all the technology infrastructure, can\u2019t keep up. So I don\u2019t see the metaverse in the near term changing our lives.\u201d\n\nCIOs aren\u2019t the only ones skeptical about the metaverse: A recent poll from software company Momentive, in conjunction with the news company Axios, found that a majority of Americans don\u2019t really give the tech much thought. Some 60% say they\u2019re not familiar with the whole metaverse concept, and among those who are, 35% are more scared of it than not, 14% are more excited, and 50% are neither.\n\nOthers, however, show a bit more enthusiasm for the metaverse. Professional services firm PwC surveyed more than 5,000 US consumers and 1,000 US business leaders and found that 50% of consumers call the metaverse \u201cexciting\u201d while 66% of executives say they\u2019re either building proofs of concepts or implementing use cases \u2014 and in some cases, they are already generating revenue from transactions.\n\nBut even PwC tempers those figures, noting \u201cit\u2019s important to keep in mind that the \u2018ultimate\u2019 version of the metaverse (fully immersive, with seamless and secure transitions among a multitude of metaverse environments) doesn\u2019t exist yet.\u201d\n\nMarcelo De Santis, chief digital officer at technology consultancy Thoughtworks North America, blames the hype on \u201ca combination of announcements from social media giants and the like, plus the emerging growth of NFTs [non-fungible tokens] \u2014 a debatable application of blockchain technology.\u201d\n\nHe says executives need to get a better grip on the technology itself as well as the potential.\n\n\u201cI believe we need clarity not only about what the metaverse is, but also about how we see its evolution; in other words: What\u2019s possible today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow? This clarity will help to set a strategic framework on how to evolve the technology, talent, and business capabilities to turn the metaverse into a meaningful transformation engine that is good for business, the public sector, and society,\u201d he adds.\n\n2. Blockchain\n\nCIOs also labeled blockchain as overhyped, noting that the technology has failed to be as transformative or even as useful as hoped nearly a decade into its use.\n\n\u201cInitially, the name \u2018blockchain\u2019 sounded pretty cool and quickly became a buzzword that drew interest and peeked curiosities,\u201d says Josh Hamit, senior vice president and CIO of Altra Federal Credit Union and a member of ISACA\u2019s Emerging Trends Working Group. \u201cHowever, in actual practice, it has proved more difficult for many organizations to identify tangible use cases for blockchain, or distributed ledger as it is also known.\u201d\n\nHamit points to Gartner research that found a less than enthusiastic embrace of blockchain, with the firm saying that \u201cblockchain has already started to revolutionize ways of doing business, but even CIOs aren\u2019t totally on board, let alone the rest of the executive leadership team.\u201d The firm\u2019s research from 2016 to 2021 show that, on average, 45% of CIOs have said that their organization has no interest in blockchain.\n\n\u201cDespite the promise and hype of blockchain, many CIOs seemingly aren\u2019t buying in,\u201d Hamit says.\n\nStill, Hamit and others aren\u2019t writing off the technology and do predict that blockchain will \u2014 eventually \u2014 deliver on its potential.\n\n3. Web3 technologies in general\n\nGreg Taffet, managing partner and CIO with Taffet Associates, started his list with blockchain but quickly expanded it to include cryptocurrency and NFTs \u2014 both enabled by blockchain \u2014 as well as decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).\n\n\u201cAll overhyped,\u201d Taffet says.\n\nThe proof, he adds, is in the rush from some executives to implement the technologies without good use cases.\n\n\u201cCompanies don\u2019t want to be left behind while they are figuring out how to properly utilize the technology for their company. So they are going ahead with projects before they determine if there are better or alternative technologies they should use,\u201d he says, although he does acknowledge that \u201cthe potential for Web3 technologies is huge.\u201d In fact, he\u2019s working on several smart cities projects that use some Web3 technologies.\n\n\u201cWe have done the design and analysis of the specific technologies. We have picked specific technologies for different parts of the project making sure it is an appropriate use,\u201d he says. But he has had challenges finding people who have both the technical knowledge to implement these and the business experience to make good use of them \u2014 a fact that he says \u201ccontributes to the misuse and hype\u201d that\u2019s currently surrounding Web3 technologies.\n\nLawrence Anderson, CIO for the Office of the Secretary at the US Department of Commerce, made similar observations, saying that any technology dependent on big infrastructure or multiple parties are so far promising more than they\u2019ve delivered in value.\n\n\u201cI believe it\u2019s a very powerful technology. I think its potential is great. But it\u2019s something we\u2019re not ready for. We\u2019re not ready for it, in terms of the amount of people and infrastructure needed to support the technology,\u201d Anderson says, explaining that the bandwidth, workforce skills, and multiparty agreements required to make such technology hum aren\u2019t yet in place.\n\n4. Cloud and cloud-based solutions\n\nEnterprises have been accelerating cloud adoption of late, in particular since the onset of the pandemic, and the strategic and its solutions often prove their value, but some CIOs count cloud as an overhyped tech. The reason? They see both enterprise IT departments and software makers just doing a lift-and-shift, moving their code to the cloud but not modernizing it in any meaningful way. Consequently, the IT departments don\u2019t see any of the benefits they\u2019ve been told the cloud provides, while the partners and vendors performing those lift-and-shifts aren\u2019t delivering any promised improved performance to their customers.\n\n\u201cWe are seeing solutions lifting and shifting from the data center to cloud but without taking advantage of the true benefits cloud-native [development] brings to the table. Organizations are surprised, when they move to a cloud solution and they encounter the same clunky, non-scalable, issues they saw in their data center,\u201d says Monique Dumais-Chrisope, senior vice president and CIO of Encore Capital Group.\n\nShe continues: \u201cIt\u2019s encouraging bad behavior by some of these organizations that want to declare they are \u2018on the cloud\u2019 when really they have just put their hardware-ready code on the cloud. There are plenty of solid solutions, in data centers, that work well there, and we need to give them the opportunity to reinvent themselves on the cloud. Some of their early offerings are clearly not cloud native, and we need to ask the right questions to truly understand what they mean by offering solutions on the cloud.\u201d\n\n5. Artificial intelligence\n\nFor its 2021 report, Thriving in an AI World, professional services firm KPMG surveyed nearly 1,000 executives about their thoughts on AI and found that 74% believe \u201cthe use of AI to help business is more hype than reality right now.\u201d\n\nSome CIOs share that view.\n\n\u201cPeople spin it as a magical black box that just does things right, but I\u2019m instantly skeptical because I know the limitations of the technology,\u201d says Matt Nerney, a fractional CIO with TPP Global Services.\n\nNerney, like other tech leaders, doesn\u2019t dispute that AI is a powerful technology. But, he says, AI requires a lot of resources, including large data sets to train it and data scientists to manage it. Implementing AI is time-intensive and a complex undertaking, and in the end, it\u2019s still based on pattern-matching.\n\nBut CIOs aren\u2019t just left to right-size expectations around true AI, they say they\u2019re also combatting software vendor marketing messages that toss around the AI term to describe the algorithms or machine learning powering the technology.\n\n\u201cThere\u2019s pressure from outside of IT, [with business-unit colleagues] saying, \u2018We should just do this solution. It has AI, so it must be really good.\u2019 And you have to tell them it\u2019s probably not [actually AI],\u201d Nerney says, adding the term \u201cAI\u201d seems much more of an advertising pitch right now.\n\nHamit agrees: \u201c\u2018AI\u2019 is often severely overused as a way to market applications and technologies in order to exaggerate their capabilities.\u201d\n\n6. Collaboration platforms\n\nAs organizations shifted to remote work due to pandemic-induced restrictions on in-person gatherings, and as they continue to enable work-from-anywhere policies today, they\u2019ve implemented plenty of collaboration tools to help workers get their work done.\n\nBut Eric Johnson, executive vice president and CIO of Momentive, doesn\u2019t see those technologies delivering all the hoped-for benefits.\n\n\u201cWe\u2019ve been inundated with every single collaboration tool you can imagine,\u201d he says, noting that while some were in place before COVID hit, many more were implemented during the past few years to support remote and hybrid work models. \u201cThey have tons of promise, but I think with the drive around the remote work\/hybrid work environment they really started to get overhyped. The whole intent of collaboration tools is to help workers be more efficient, more engaged, to get work done better, but as you introduce every use case imaginable, they almost worked against being more efficient because you have to start having to jump between 12 different tools to get work done.\u201d\n\nHe adds: \u201cI don\u2019t know if it\u2019s overhyped, but it is hype, in the sense that it\u2019s a shiny thing that doesn\u2019t live up to the excitement.\u201d\n\nThat may not be surprising, given the speed of adoption that took place over the past few years. According to Gartner\u2019s Digital Worker Experience Survey, nearly 80% of workers were using collaboration tools for work in 2021, up from about 50% in 2019 \u2014 a 44% increase. The use of storage\/sharing and real-time mobile messaging tools also increased, by 74% and 80%, respectively.\n\nSimilar to expectations around other hyped-up tech, Johnson expects the market for collaboration tools to mature and, with that, deliver better experiences and overall results.\n\n\u201cWe\u2019ve got so many different point solutions, many of which were easy to adopt [by business-unit workers] with a credit card, and sometimes the technology didn\u2019t play nice with others, some were hard to integrate, so it created a complex set of tools that was hard for employees to navigate,\u201d he says.\n\nJohnson expects the market will consolidate, with bigger enterprise platform solutions acquiring some of the best-of-breed offerings and some best-of-breeds building out their capabilities to offer a single software product that creates a more complete, seamless collaboration experience.\n\nIt\u2019s then, he says, that the tech will start living up to all its hype \u2014 and some other will take its place on the list.