I regularly hear CIOs and IT suppliers discussing the “four pillars” of cloud, social, mobile, and big data as if they’re an end in themselves, creating plenty of buzz around all four. But really, they’re just a means to an end: Cloud, social, mobile, and big data are the tools we use to reach the ultimate goal of providing a great customer experience. Most CIOs in Australia do understand that digital disruption and customer obsession are the factors that are changing their world, and that the only way to succeed is to embrace this change.

We recently published our predictions for CIOs in Asia Pacific in 2014 (see blog post here). Our entire analyst team in region was involved in the process — all submitting their thoughts and feedback. Here are some of our thoughts about Australia in 2014:

  • Forrester forecasts that overall technology spending in Australia will see a modest 2.4% increase in 2014. Australian CIOs have finally managed to reduce their operational costs and are pumping the savings back into the organization: The firm as a whole gets new capabilities and the IT department gets resources to help improve its ability to operate at the speed of the customer.
  • We are implementing mobile for the right reasons. Too many Australian organizations have had the same knee-jerk reaction to mobile: “We have to build an app.” In 2014, CIOs will help drive the mobile mind shift by focusing on meeting customer needs regardless of their location.
  • Our evolving development methodologies need to be “customer first.” Even agile development shops can get applications wrong when they don’t focus on customer imperatives.  Designing with customer outcomes in mind will drive the right behavior internally.
  • It’s time to consider organizing IT into integrated business servicesCIOs will begin to move IT capabilities aligned with business capabilities into “integrated business services” — bundles of the technology and business capabilities required to offer a service.

To succeed in the age of the customer, Australian CIOs should shift their strategy slightly: Instead of focusing on business outcomes, focus on customer outcomes. If you can help your company find customers and make them happy and loyal, then it should meet its goals.

Most CIOs already spend a significant amount of time working with their peers on the business side. Do more of this in 2014 — but instead of focusing on your peers’ business problems, focus on how you as a CIO can use disruptive technology to help them deliver customer outcomes.

And don’t be afraid to disrupt yourself. Have a look at your future project portfolio and determine which new services could be disrupted by new technologies. And if they can be disrupted, then disrupt yourself before the market disrupts you.