CIOs want to know what new technologies they should watch
for their firm’s possible use.  They need
to know when they should make an investment of time to learn a technology, and educate
their business on its potential – or be prepared to answer their questions.  They want to time their own adoption – for
example, with cloud-based
, they want to maximize benefits, avoid the bleeding edge, and smoothly
fold it in with their plans.  CIOs need a
‘technology watch list' when they have a central architecture teams, they delegate
creating this list to that team.  These
teams tap their sources – and one source the architecture teams tap to scan the
long list of technologies is Forrester.


At Forrester, we are challenged to identify the top
technologies, too.  Our problem is a bit
different from our clients – we follow so many technologies, hear from so vendors
and thought leaders, and of course every analyst will have their own network
and assessment.  To sort through
everything that could be on a watch list and pick the ones which CIOs should
watch, we involve many analysts and use a simple set of criteria:


  • It’s
    got to matter within three years if it’s going to be worth watching
    .  Of course we all know there are trends in
    computing architectures or neural networks or others that might have a big
    impact – but your average business or even aggressive adopters can’t do
    anything today with these long lead-time technologies.  You might as well save your bandwidth
    and watch the ones that matter within a reasonable planning & adoption


  • It’s
    got to have a significant impact on business, or on the business of
    Business impact is simply
    ‘can the business do something that it can’t easily do today?’.  Can it better understand customer
    behavior? Can it drive down the cost of internal processes? IT impact can
    be both positive or negative:  Does
    it impact cost positively or
    ?  Does it
    impact quality positively or
    ? Does it impact IT’s ability to serve business positively
    or negatively?  Like George Colony, Forrester’s CEO, observed:
    Web 2.0 has forever changed the relationship
    between your company and your customer.”
    If a technology trend like
    Web 2.0 will have significant impact, shouldn’t you be looking at it? If
    it doesn’t have significant impact, why get excited about it? 


  • It
    has to be new or significantly different from what’s available today.
      There are a lot of impactful
    technologies in use today that will be more impactful three years from now
    – but they will be basically the same technologies that are in use
    today.  CIOs’ organizations are
    already familiar with them and only need to ‘keep up to speed.’ But others,
    like business rules
    , will be essentially completely new, and IT will need to ramp
    up on them, understanding potential benefits and risks before they make
    their adoption decisions. For existing technologies – it’s ‘business as
    usual,’ but for new technologies, you have to pick which ones you will
    ramp up on. 


  • You
    need to understand how complex implementation might be.
      Complexity drives when you need to start
    looking.  A technology that could
    change business strategy will be very complex to adopt – involving
    multiple stakeholders, and impacting multiple IT and business areas.  It will take a long time to plan so, if
    the business impact is worth it, you want to start early.  Other impactful technology might be a
    simple case of acquiring and using. You don’t need a lot of time to plan
    for it. 


Why is collaboration across Forrester analysts so
important?  Simply put, making a
prediction which our clients can trust takes more than just one person’s
opinion.  With lots of input from
analysts across Forrester’s technology coverage, and with an equal amount of
vetting by these same analysts, we will produce a more trustworthy prediction
of which technologies will matter.  If
the consensus of analysts is that real-time, process-centric business intelligence will
have a bigger impact than model-driven software development, the chances are it


Which technologies should EA’s watch?  It’s not a matter of ‘cool technologies’ –
although they may be fun, or ‘hot technologies’ – although they may be hot for
a reason.  It’s really about which ones
will matter because of their impact, their ‘newness’ and the potential
complexity they bring with them, within a timeframe organizations can plan around.


Over the coming months, Forrester analysts will take to our
blogs and take a closer look at the 15 technologies we selected,
adding what they see on the immediate horizon for 2010.   


Which technologies are on your list?