Editor's note: This article is part of The Water Cooler, a recurring column for technology executives to digest, discuss and debate. Next up: Who is your work partner in crime — the person (or people) in your work life that you go to for everything? Email us here.
Every year, the technology community condenses on the technology trends to watch, led by forward-looking executives and analysts. But forecasting which trends will stick can vary as unpredictable disruption occurs, which the COVID-19 pandemic made obvious.
Many technology trends — such as the power of the cloud and importance of security — have proven steadfast, shaping business decisions for years. Yet, too many guiding principles endorsed to IT leaders as the next big thing fall flat.
For a pulse check on overplayed themes in business technology, CIO Dive asked IT executives to share the trends and predictions that they're sick of hearing about:
(The comments below have been lightly edited for length and clarity.)
Roz Ho, VP and global head of software at HP
"[Gamification is] certainly not the Holy Grail for every engagement and productivity problem."
VP and global head of software at HP
For the past few years, gamification has been touted as the answer to customer engagement and loyalty, organizational productivity, employee recruitment and retention, crowdsourcing — basically everything under the sun.
Although it can be a powerful tool, it is not effective in every situation and every geography. It's certainly not the Holy Grail for every engagement and productivity problem and I'm glad we've finally figured that out.
Angelic Gibson, CIO at AvidXchange
"There will be a lot of lessons learned in the future about what rate of innovation is being lost by people not being together."
CIO at AvidXchange
The idea that we could be a completely remote world, I think it's destructive to the human spirit. And I think that there needs to be balance in the conversation about how do we create a safe working environment, first and foremost, for our employees, balanced with the need for human connectivity that you can only get with being together.
No one, I think, has the answer, but I think there will be a lot of lessons learned in the future about what rate of innovation is being lost by people not being together.
Lloyd Adams, managing director, East Region at SAP North America
"Best-run companies know systemic issues need holistic, end-to-end approaches, not siloed solutions that create headaches and add more cost."
Managing director, East Region at SAP North America
Best-in-breed. [Chief digital officers], CIOs and other business leaders are focusing on how they can help their organizations connect supply chain with finance and remove other organizational silos. The pandemic exposed this even further.
Best-run companies know systemic issues need holistic, end-to-end approaches, not siloed solutions that create headaches and add more cost.
Ajay Sabhlok, CIO and chief data officer at Rubrik
"How much of [hybrid cloud] do people understand in terms of architecture, in terms of impact to the company?"
CIO and chief data officer at Rubrik
I think people talk a lot about hybrid cloud adoption. The question is: how much of that do people understand in terms of architecture, in terms of impact to the company?
Hybrid cloud is one area which people might be exaggerating on, because I think you need some very savvy architecture approaches to be able to succeed in that kind of an environment.
Irvin Bishop, Jr., CIO at Black & Veatch
"If you can ask 10 people what digital transformation is, you will get 10 different answers."
Irvin Bishop, Jr.
CIO at Black & Veatch
Digital transformation. This term is misused so much that we have a definition that has been shared with our entire organization to ensure alignment. In most companies, if you can ask 10 people what digital transformation is, you will get 10 different answers.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are valuable and can be impressive capabilities. We see these terms everywhere (overused). Many have heard the terms so much that they think they understand it.
If you ask most individuals in IT to explain a practical application of AI and ML for the work they are doing and how it would be utilized, the answer is convoluted (misunderstood).
Eric Christopher, CEO and co-founder at Zylo
"All data is on its way to the cloud — if it's not already there — and so the notion that we're still shifting to the cloud is old news."
CEO and co-founder at Zylo
IT has grown tremendously during the pandemic, with organizations making shifts to adjust to remote work environments. Remote employees and flexible work schedules will be a mainstay in the tech industry — and already have been for many companies for over a decade.
Rather than focusing on the negatives like Zoom fatigue, it's now time for IT leaders to come together to embrace this new normal and find ways to better support their teams.
Other stale IT trends are the many conversations surrounding the cloud and shadow IT. All data is on its way to the cloud — if it's not already there — and so the notion that we're still shifting to the cloud is old news.
Additionally, employee and product-led SaaS are here to stay, and we must embrace the options and innovations. It's time to stop looking at it as a "shadow" IT, but instead a light — one IT leaders must go toward.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect Lloyd Adams was referencing chief digital officers.