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A CIO reads about IT

The big picture: 3 trends impacting IT leaders now

February 6, 2018

By Lisa Dare

We all know the lines between IT and "the business" have blurred, but last week's World Economic Forum in Davos made it crystal clear. The conversations that dominated the agenda probably felt familiar to IT leaders: artificial intelligence’s risks and opportunities, diversity and equity in the workforce, and blockchain (and it’s cooler, flashier and probably drunk cousin, cryptocurrency).

Artificial intelligence lands

Artificial intelligence and machine learning applications may mostly be in their pilot stages, but tech leaders know they’re coming. Many of the applications will involve finding ways to use their extensive data to yield better decision-making and predictive analytics. But those outcomes rest on the integrity of the data collected, which is making some IT leaders a bit uncomfortable (and a few downright panicky).

While data cleansing and management may not be the most exciting topics, they’re critical to getting value out of expensive ML and AI projects. Two of our practice architects shared some recommendations for a data quality strategy; it's a long read but lays out the important concepts.

Tech faces pressure from Congress to get serious about diversity

The Hill reported that the trade group Internet Association (which represents tech giants like Google and Amazon) agreed to appoint a diversity director in the wake of pointed criticism from the Congressional Black Caucus. The to-be-appointed director of diversity and inclusion will weigh on from topics ranging from advertising targeting to workforce representation.

The CBC has been disappointed by the tech industry’s glacial progress in fostering a workforce that welcomes African American, Hispanic and female workers. In truth, the tech industry itself is somewhat dismayed by its lack of progress. Our director of diversity and inclusion explains some of the obstacles tech faces—like pipelines and the need to fill jobs quickly—and how to overcome them.

Blockchain: What’s real         

Finally, while the crypto-currency fads put several dubious—and hilarious—decisions and trends in the spotlight, several industries are getting serious about their blockchain technologies. Financial services firms are banking (sorry) on the ability of blockchain to provide faster, more efficient and safer transactions, while the energy industry is looking to facilitate distributed energy grids.

Looking ahead

Two-thirds of enterprises preparing to innovate quickly and head off disruptors are gearing up for DevOps transformation. Jay Mozo, a cloud/DevOps architect, writes about some of the change in his article, Can an IT operations team be the catalyst for enterprise transformation?

Related reading

Want to get a leg up on the trends that will impact business this year? Read our IT Forecast to see which technologies companies are planning to invest in in the coming years. 

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