Anticipatory IT: Your strategy for staving off digital disruption

Anticipating future opportunities based on hard and soft trends is crucial for CIOs seeking to avoid disruption. Does your organization have what it takes to commit to an ‘anticipatory IT’ strategy?

Most enterprises, afraid of losing ground to competitors, are moving at such a rapid pace that they often miss signs that portend disruption. But companies can head off this innovator's dilemma by capitalizing on emerging trends and anticipating where their respective industries are heading.

Futurist and author Daniel Burrus proposed this notion two years ago in his book, The Anticipatory Organization: Turn Disruption and Change into Opportunity and Advantage. His thesis: Change is linear, exponential and predictable.

"Every disruption that has ever happened was there to see," Burrus said during a keynote speech at the 2017 CIO 100 Symposium, citing disruptions by Amazon.com to retail, Uber to transportation and Airbnb to hospitality.

Ninety percent of 1,070 CIOs polled by Gartner for its 2019 CIO Agenda survey experienced a “turn,” such as an organizational disruption, acquisition, cost pressure, regulatory intervention, funding shortfall or shift in consumer demands. But only 25 percent of enterprises may come out ahead of the turn, which can impede the organization's ability to hire the right talent and to fund and launch new business initiatives at speed.

Ninety-three percent of 1,000 companies surveyed said their biggest problem had been predictable — they just weren't looking, Burrus says. The key is anticipating turns and acting on them, ideally before rivals do.

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