IT that matters in the new machine age prioritizes cybersecurity, innovation, time-to-market and customer experience over cost-cutting, according to our report, based on interviews with more than 1,000 senior IT executives across industries in 18 countries. We found that every business function, from sales and marketing, to finance, customer service and IT operations, is about to undergo a massive transformation:
- Cybersecurity will be key to building the brand. Companies that think cybersecurity is an IT problem or priority have already been hacked by the future. By 2020, cybersecurity will top the list of business priorities, according to respondents. Online security threats are now a fact of life, moving organizations’ ability to mitigate risk from an inconvenient need to a necessary competitive advantage.
- Customer-facing technology will remain supreme. Although customer-facing technology transformation (websites, mobile apps, etc.) drops from first to third place between now and 2020 in our study, this priority is clearly here to stay. The winners in the digital economy will be those that own the customer relationship. In fact, 68% of respondents named improving data management capabilities to enhance the customer experience as a top priority.
- Innovation is no longer a luxury. Time-to-market of new products, services and experiences is a must in the digital economy. On average today, respondents said their company launched two or three new products or services annually, each taking seven to eight months to get to market. That is simply no longer fast enough. Almost half of survey respondents acknowledged that five years from now, those launch times will need to be cut in half.
- Cost-cutting disappears as a top priority. Leading businesses are already using automation today to relentlessly cut costs, and many will have already reaped the cost benefits by 2020. The future focus will be less about cost-cutting and more about investing in technologies and capabilities necessary for changing business requirements.