Executive Summary

For our 2016 Year-End, 2017 New Year edition of The Pulse we take a break from our usual format to look back at 2016 and look forward to 2017. The theme for this edition is "Surprises," mostly the lack of them, because several of the swells we've discussed this year appear set to become waves next year and beyond. Let's just say our CIOs, CTOs and especially our CISO's have their work cut out for them in 2017.  But they won't be the least surprised to hear that. Read on...

The Technology Pulse includes a brief series of information-dense questions to C-level technology strategists who deliver answers according to the current state of their business. The three key categories - Financial, Risk and Innovation - have the greatest long-term impact on the success of the application and management of technology in business.

The Technology Pulse provides an inside look at the biggest trends in technology for today’s businesses and corporate leaders to gain valuable insights into the behaviors and drivers of CIO and CTO behavior in the existing and near-term market.

A Brief Departure

The Technology Pulse regularly asks C-level technology executives to answer questions in three key categories - Financial, Risk, and Innovation. Our December survey, however, took a brief departure from the usual questions. We asked three questions designed to provide a summary of 2016 and a prediction for 2017:

  1. Which technology questions or requests from your board and executive team surprised you the most in 2016?
  2. Which key technology developments from 2016 will have the greatest impact in 2017 and beyond?
  3. Which functional areas will command the most attention and effort in 2017?

2016 Surprises... Not so surprising...

If you've been following along with us on The Pulse you noticed a few trends: technology spending is not slowing down, security is high on everyone's list of concerns, and the cloud (and increasingly machine learning/artificial intelligence) is becoming the dominant technology platform. So when we asked which topics raised by boards (think: RISK) and other executives surprised our respondents the most in 2016 - we weren't all that surprised (and neither were our tech execs). Can you pick out the top concern from the graphic above? Not too hard huh?  

While it took several forms (cybersecurity, security, ransomware, malware, etc.), Security overshadowed all other topics. We've covered security and several of the subtopics in recent editions of The Pulse so check them out if you're interested. Fortium is increasing the number of Partners in our Security practice focused on information and physical security and we've seen a serious uptick in requests from clients for security leadership.  

The other dominant response to this question was that nothing was all that surprising to our tech execs. Our Partners and our extended network of CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs are among some of the most connected and informed technology executives anywhere. If they were surprised, we'd be surprised! 

2017 Impact and beyond

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We also asked our tech execs to let us know which of the developments in 2016 will have the greatest impact on 2017 and beyond. You won't be surprised at all to learn that Security topped the list at 43% followed by Machine Learning (including the similar Augmented/Artificial Learning/Reality) at 28% and Cloud at 25%.

Cloud + Security + Machine Learning

Reading between the lines on some of the comments about security on this and the previous question, respondents are emphatic that security is no longer (if it ever was) a technology problem. Security is a business problem with technical aspects that has a far-reaching impact on reputation, shareholder value, financials and competitiveness. While it may be tempting to retreat to the days of centralized, disconnected, and, in theory, safer computing, companies and their tech execs are being pulled toward the Cloud by the tremendous promise of faster innovation and lower long-term costs. Further, almost every serious offering of general Machine Learning is coming from one of the large cloud vendors. Fortunately, most tech execs understand the dilemma and are developing strategies appropriate for risk-tolerance of their companies. It's not easy but it's just part of the job.

2017 Focus (and One Surprise!)

So where will tech execs put their focus in 2017? If it weren't so serious, it might be funny... a whopping 70% of respondents told us that Security will be commanding a large portion of their attention in 2017. OK, we're sufficiently informed and forewarned. We'll be blogging, speaking, assessing and advising on Security, as well as partnering with some of the leading security vendors and forensics experts, all year long. If we can help, please let us know.

One area that we haven't spent a great deal of time discussing here in The Pulse is Application Development. If infrastructure (cloud or otherwise) is the highway of technology, applications are the vehicles that get us where we need to go. Fully 55% of tech execs listed Application Development as one of their top priorities for 2017. We suppose, given the rise of Software-as-a-Service, the proliferation of Robotic Process Automation, Integration-as-a-Service and the explosion of low-code development platforms (all technologies that reduce the need to develop your own applications and integrations), we could chalk this one up to our first, and only, surprise of this edition of The Pulse. We'll be watching all related application development categories and keep you apprised as 2017 unfolds.  

About Fortium Partners And Technology Pulse

Fortium’s Technology Pulse report monitors technology trends impacting businesses now and in the future. We combine the insights of thousands of world-class technology leaders with analysis and commentary from its growing roster of partners – CIOs and CTOs on the forefront of delivering Technology Leadership as a Service to clients of all sizes and industries. For more information, visit FortiumPartners.com.

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