Introduction Tech Trends 2014

Explore 10 trends that offer CIOs the opportunity to shape tomorrow and to transform “business as usual.”

Welcome to Deloitte’s fifth annual Technology Trends report. Each year, we study the ever-evolving technology landscape, focusing on disruptive trends that are transforming business, government, and society. Once again, we’ve selected 10 topics that have the opportunity to impact organizations across industries, geographies, and sizes over the next 18 to 24 months.

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The theme of this year’s report is Inspiring Disruption. In it, we discuss 10 trends that exemplify the unprecedented potential for emerging technologies to reshape how work gets done, how businesses grow, and how markets and industries evolve. These disruptive technologies challenge CIOs to anticipate their potential organizational impacts. And while today’s demands are by no means trivial, the trends we describe offer CIOs the opportunity to shape tomorrow—to inspire others, to create value, and to transform “business as usual.”

The list of trends is developed using an ongoing process of primary and secondary research that involves:

  • Feedback from client executives on current and future priorities
  • Perspectives from industry and academic luminaries
  • Research by alliance partners, industry analysts, and competitor positioning
  • Crowdsourced ideas and examples from our global network of practitioners

As in prior years, we’ve organized the trends into two categories. Disruptors are areas that can create sustainable positive disruption in IT capabilities, business operations, and sometimes even business models. Enablers are technologies in which many CIOs have already invested time and effort, but that warrant another look because of new developments, new capabilities, or new potential use cases. Each trend is presented with multiple examples of adoption to show the trend at work. This year, we’ve added a longer-form Lesson from the front lines to each chapter to offer a more detailed look at an early use case. Also, each chapter includes a personal point of view in the My take section.

Information technology continues to be dominated by five forces: analytics, mobile, social, cloud, and cyber. Their continuing impact is highlighted in chapters dedicated to wearables, cloud orchestration, social activation, and cognitive analytics. Cyber is a recurring thread throughout the report: more important than ever, but embedded into thinking about how to be secure, vigilant, and resilient in approaching disruptive technologies.

For the first time, we’ve added a section dedicated to what our contributing authors at Singularity University refer to as "exponential" technologies. We highlight five innovative technologies that may take longer than our standard 24-month time horizon for businesses to harness them—but whose eventual impact may be profound. Examples include artificial intelligence, robotics, and additive manufacturing (3-D printing). The research, experimentation, and invention behind these “exponentials” are the building blocks for many of our technology trends. Our goal is to provide a high-level introduction to each exponential—a snapshot of what it is, where it comes from, and where it’s going.

Each of the 2014 trends is relevant today. Each has significant momentum and potential to make a business impact. And each warrants timely consideration—even if the strategy is to wait and see. But whatever you do, don’t be caught unaware—or unprepared. Use these forces to inspire, to transform. And to disrupt.

We welcome your comments, questions, and feedback. And a sincere “thank you” to the many executives and organizations that have helped provide input for Tech Trends 2014; your time and insights were invaluable. We look forward to your continued innovation, impact, and inspiration.