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10 Things CIOs Need to Look Out for in 2018

10 Things CIOs Need to Look Out for in 2018

What’s on the horizon for “gamechanging technology?” While “gamechanging” may be an overhyped term for many to say, Gartner has been spent decades studying the trends and technology, and is one of the few organizations that we trust to gauge which technologies will be changing the technological landscape in the coming years.

With this in mind, every year, Gartner releases its annual Strategic Technology Trends for [coming year], discussing things that will move into the spotlight and become key differentiators in the following five or so years. This year is no different, and earlier this year, the analyst firm released its Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2018, which will come into play as early as next year. We discuss these, as wall as some past predictions, below.

What Prior Years Had to Say about the Current Technological Environment

Before digging into the predictions and trends for 2018, we would like to take a look at some of the past few years. Our 2015 blog, 10 things that need to be on an organization’s radar in 2016, shared some of the predictions for 2012-2015, noting things like Media tablets (2012), mobile device battles (2013), Internet of Things (2012-13, 2015), Internet of Everything (2014), and so much more. Below, we will share Gartner’s Predictions in 2015, 2016, and 2017 before discussing the 2018 predictions set to impact the IT world in the coming years.

2015-2017: Gartner Predicted These IT Innovations

2015 2016 2017
1. Computing Everywhere The Device Mesh AI and Advanced Machine Learning
2. The Internet of Things Ambient User Experience Intelligent Apps
3. 3D Printing 3D Printing Materials Intelligent Things
4. Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics Information of Everything Virtual and Augmented Reality
5. Context-Rich Systems Advanced Machine Learning Digital Twin
6. Smart Machines Autonomous Agents and Things Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers
7. Cloud/Client Computing Adaptive Security Architecture Conversational System
8. Software-Defined Applications and Infrastructure Advanced System Architecture Mesh App and Service Architecture
9. Web-Scale IT Mesh App and Service Architecture Digital Technology Platforms
10. Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection Internet of Things Platforms Adaptive Security Architecture

As you can see, many of the predictions made in 2012 and 2013 have made their way into the world in the past few years, and the prediction cycle continues to get shorter. Consider that 3D Printing was considered a long-term strategic prediction in 2014 and 2015, but has already made its way into the mainstream by 2016 and 2017.

Gartner’s Strategic Technology Trends for 2018

Announced annually at the Gartner IT Symposium, the analyst firm announced its top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018 on October 3, 2017. Broken into three categories working together, the IT trends predicted in 2018 will build around the “Intelligent Digital Mesh.” Defined by Gartner as “the entwining of people, devices, content and services,” the intelligent digital mesh is enabled by digital models, business platforms and a rich, intelligent set of services to support digital business. While we will provide overviews of each trend below, you can read in-depth descriptions and impacts on the Gartner blog.


How AI is seeping into virtually every technology and with a defined, well-scoped focus can allow more dynamic, flexible and potentially autonomous systems.

AI Foundations

The ability to use AI to enhance decision making, reinvent business models and ecosystems, and remake the customer experience will drive the payoff for digital initiatives through 2025.

Intelligent Apps and Analytics

AI has already been incorporated into many applications, but the coming years will point to even more embrasure, and as it evolves will become the standard. AI will run unobtrusively in the background of many familiar application categories while giving rise to entirely new ones. AI has become the next major battleground in a wide range of software and service markets, including aspects of ERP.

Gartner recommends using these as a way to augment—as opposed to replace—people, leveraging AI to do the legwork including data preparation, insight discovery and insight sharing for a broad range of business users, operational workers and citizen data scientists.

Intelligent Things

Intelligent things use AI and machine learning to interact in a more intelligent way with people and surroundings. Some intelligent things wouldn’t exist without AI, but others are existing things (i.e., a camera) that AI makes intelligent (i.e., a smart camera.)


Blending the virtual and real worlds to create an immersive digitally enhanced and connected environment.

Digital Twins

A digital twin is a digital representation of a real-world entity or system. In the context of IoT, digital twins are linked to real-world objects and offer information on the state of the counterparts, respond to changes, improve operations and add value.

Cloud to the Edge

Edge computing describes a computing topology in which information processing and content collection and delivery are placed closer to the sources of this information.

Conversational Platform

Conversational platforms will drive a paradigm shift in which the burden of translating intent shifts from user to computer. These systems are capable of simple answers (How’s the weather?) or more complicated interactions (book a reservation at the Italian restaurant on Parker Ave.)

Immersive Experience

Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality are changing the way that people perceive and interact with the digital world. Combined with conversational platforms, a fundamental shift in the user experience to an invisible and immersive experience will emerge.


The connections between an expanding set of people, business, devices, content and services to deliver digital outcomes.


Blockchain is a shared, distributed, decentralized and tokenized ledger that removes business friction by being independent of individual applications or participants. It allows untrusted parties to exchange commercial transactions.

The technology holds the promise to change industries, and although the conversation often surrounds financial opportunities, blockchain has many potential applications in government, healthcare, content distribution, supply chain and more.


Digital businesses rely on the ability to sense and be ready to exploit new digital business moments. Business events reflect the discovery of notable states or state changes, such as completion of a purchase order. Event-driven actions leverage IoT, AI, and other technologies to detect and act on specific business events, connecting multiple business lines, partners, and applications.

Continuous, Adaptive Risk and Trust

Digital business creates a complex, evolving security environment. The use of increasingly sophisticated tools increases the threat potential. Continuous adaptive risk and trust assessment (CARTA) allows for real-time, risk and trust-based decision making with adaptive responses to security-enable digital business.

Keeping Up with the Rapid Changes to IT

Technology has begun to move faster than ever, and the leaders need to keep up with all of the changes. At Wipfli/Brittenford, we have worked hard to provide leaders with the advice, keeping them up to date on what’s new and what’s next. As you look towards the “what’s next” part of the technology equation, we welcome you to learn more about our CIO Advisory Services. Our CIO Advisory Services practice helps demystify technical execution for CEO’s and CFO’s with a focus on financial information. Contact us to learn more about how our CIO Advisory Services practice can help your organization.


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