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Why CIOs and IT Leaders Must Evolve Now

The informed CEO, and board of directors for multinational enterprises, will seek digital growth from their business technology investments. Moreover, the ongoing global pandemic and the surge in digital services are making cloud computing the centerpiece of new digital experiences, according to Gartner.

"There is no business strategy without a cloud strategy," said Milind Govekar, vice president at Gartner. "The adoption and interest in public cloud continues unabated as organizations pursue a 'cloud first' policy for onboarding new workloads."

Global Cloud Computing Market Development

In 2022, global cloud revenue is forecast to total $474 billion -- that's up from $408 billion in 2021. Over the next few years, Gartner analysts estimate cloud revenue will surpass non-cloud revenue for relevant enterprise IT markets.

Gartner analysts believe that more than 85 percent of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025 and will not be able to fully execute their digital strategies without the use of cloud-native architectures and technologies.

"Adopting cloud-native platforms means that digital or product teams will use architectural principles and capabilities to take advantage of the inherent capabilities within the cloud environment," said Govekar. "New workloads deployed in a cloud-native environment will be pervasive, not just popular and anything non-cloud will be considered legacy."

By 2025, Gartner estimates that over 95 percent of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms -- that's up from 30 percent in 2021.

As the operating model changes, the organization will turn to a product-orientated operating model where the entire value stream of the business and IT will have to be aligned by digital products that produce net-new growth.

This transformation will create new leadership roles and responsibilities, such as site reliability engineers, product managers, or communities of practices. Change management is also a key requirement as traditional IT organizations must learn to evolve their business skills.

Application development will shift to application assembly and integration. The applications will be assembled and composed by the teams that use them. The legacy IT organizational silos of application development, automation, integration, and governance will become obsolete.

By 2025, 70 percent of new applications developed by organizations will use low-code or no-code technologies -- that's up from less than 25 percent in 2020. Line of Business (LoB) leaders will likely drive this transition with the adoption of more 'business technologist' roles.

The rise of low-code application platforms (LCAPs) is driving the increase of citizen development, and notably the function of business technologists who report outside of IT departments and create new capabilities for internal or external business use.

According to the Gartner assessment, cloud-delivered secure access service edge (SASE) presents the fastest growing opportunity in the enterprise networking and global network security market.

As most traffic from branch offices and edge computing locations will not go to an enterprise data center, CIOs and IT leaders will increasingly use SASE to secure the 'Anywhere Workspace'.

Outlook for Anywhere Workspace Applications Growth

Gartner estimates that in 2022, end-user spending on SASE will total $6.8 billion -- that's up from $4.8 billion in 2021. In addition, by 2025, more than 50 percent of organizations will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE -- that's up from less than 5 percent in 2020.

"Instead of shipping all traffic to central security appliances, CIOs and IT leaders must bring security to the sessions, instead of bringing sessions to the security," said Govekar.

That said, I can envision a future scenario where more forward-thinking CEOs, and other members of the multinational enterprise C-suite, will continue to place demands on the IT organization that are beyond the scope and abilities of traditional IT leadership.

Successful digital service development requires a unique blend of business acumen and technology smarts that are difficult to find in the skillset of legacy IT teams. Furthermore, average IT infrastructure skills are less important as more software applications become SaaS-based and public cloud-enabled.

Will CIOs step up to the challenge and implement key changes? Let's wait and see. In the meantime, I expect few LoB leaders will wait for meaningful and substantive progress. A digital growth agenda likely has a limited window of opportunity for a first-mover advantage before it becomes commonplace.

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