Analysts Answer: What Technologies Should CIOs Experiment With in 2019

September 07, 2018

Contributor: Kasey Panetta

AI, digital twins, and collaboration top the list for must-have technologies in 2019.

Artificial intelligence, immersive technologies, and integration platform as a service are what CIOs should be looking into in 2019. Ahead of Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2018, Smarter with Gartner reached out to analysts to find out what technologies should enterprises be exploring (or not exploring) in 2019.

What technologies should CIOs be experimenting with in 2019?

Bern Elliot Vice president and distinguished analyst for Gartner

My focus area is enterprise artificial intelligence strategies. In this area, CIOs should be experimenting with several technologies.

Machine learning (ML) based on deep neural networks (DNNs) has made tremendous progress in the past four years and is enabling a new generation of solutions in most industries. Platforms that make DNN experimentation easier, less expensive and less risky have entered the market. CIOs should be investigating how these DNN and data science platforms can be leveraged for competitive advantage. Specific examples are supply chain optimization, predictive maintenance, fraud detection and resource optimization.

Natural language processing, fueled by progress in ML DNN, is enabling new areas for experimentation. These include virtual assistants of various sorts (customer, employee, partner portal), machine translation, machine transcription, text analytics to extract and summarize the focus of reports or other documents, natural language generation, and keyword tagging, making it easier to determine relevant sections of documents.

Computer vision solutions that capture and analyst real-word images and videos, also fueled by progress in ML DNN, are enabling new areas for experimentation, including damage assessment, drone-based observations, autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality, security and biometrics.

See Bern Elliot at his Gartner Symposium/ITxpo sessions:

  • Key Trends in AI Applications (Orlando, Florida)
  • A Framework for Applying AI in the Enterprise (Orlando, FL)

  Marty Resnick research director for Gartner

Immersive technologies (such as virtual reality and augmented reality) are changing the way businesses view typical enterprise processes and reach their customers at the point of decision. Immersive technology increases productivity in the warehouse, adds efficiency to equipment maintenance and repair, optimizes transportation and logistics, expedites employee readiness and ramp up, and creates new and innovative ways to market to and transact with customers.

See Marty Resnick at his Gartner Symposium/ITxpo sessions:

  • Immersive Technologies Offer Infinite Possibilities (Orlando, FL; Barcelona, Spain)
  • Maverick: Throw Out Your Keyboards, Close Your Physical Workplace, Come to Your Senses (Orlando, FL)
  • Workshop: Getting Started With Immersive Technologies — The Reality of Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities (Orlando, FL)

  Richard Hunter vice President and Gartner fellow

One technology most CIOs should not be experimenting with is blockchain. Potential use cases are numerous, but real-world examples of those use cases in action at scale are nowhere to be found. This is a very good time to watch carefully and wait.

Portfolio management tools are an essential investment. They support the shift from projects to products, and from projects to goals, in IT planning and execution. They make it easier to examine business trade-offs and to produce forecasts for investment outcomes. They support combining formal IT and shadow IT investments in business goals. They make it easier to estimate and harvest value. They are necessary for large enterprises, in particular, in an era when investments involving IT are growing very rapidly.

If we consider business models to be a technology, then this is the right time for CIOs to dig deeply into business models. Many of the clients I work with are stymied by their inability to define the outcome of “digital transformation.” The ability to define present and future states of the business model helps build a picture of the end state of transformation, and so guides strategy and investment.

See Richard Hunter at his Gartner Symposium/ITxpo sessions:

  • How Will Blockchain Affect Your Business Model? (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Use Business Models to Define Your Digital Transformation (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

elizabeth golluscio managing vice president at gartner

CIOs should be advising their teams to look at integration platform as a service (iPaaS) technology to support all of their hybrid, multicloud integration requirements. 

This market grew 70% last year, and we see tremendous growth in Gartner client inquiries, as more and more companies move to SaaS and must integrate those applications and datasets with their legacy, on-premises or other cloud applications.

See Elizabeth Golluscio at her Gartner Symposium/ITxpo sessions:

  • Top Trends in Application Architecture That Enable Your Digital Business Transformation (Orlando, FL)

  Whit andrews vice president and distinguished

Extend better interactions to customers more easily and cheaply with artificial intelligence in 2019. They’ll respond with better insights you can use rather than if you helped them any other way. Three consumers want AI help in common tasks for every one consumer who wants AI to do all the work. Come to the rescue of the three by augmenting your workers’ natural inclination to be helpful, kind and sympathetic with prompts and automated insights.

See Whit Andrews at his Gartner Symposium/ITxpo sessions:

  • Roundtable: We're All Lost in the AI Woods: Let's Band Together to Succeed (Orlando, FL)
  • A CXO's Perspective on the Opportunities and Limits of AI (Orlando, FL)
  • Your Artificial Intelligence Strategy Is Ready (Orlando, FL)


CIOs have made decisions about deploying new collaboration technologies (especially cloud office), but have lagged in using these tools themselves. I would challenge CIOs who have approved deployment of, but not used, the new collaboration capabilities, to do so with their direct management. Good candidates are workstream collaboration, collaborative authoring of documents or mobile video tools. Using these tools is the best way to motivate employees across the organization to try these capabilities and get value from them.

See Jeffrey Mann at his Gartner Symposium/ITxpo sessions:

  • How to Help Users Pick the Right Tool to Collaborate (Orlando, FL)
  • How to Plan a Transition to Microsoft Office 365 or Google G Suite (Barcelona, Spain)

  dave aron vice president and distinguished analyst at gartner

Artificial intelligence in all its flavors. AI comes in three main forms: human-like interactions (agents, chatbots, robots), insight generation and advanced automation. Success with AI won’t mainly come from a small number of experts thinking hard in a back room; it will come from democratizing AI — getting everyone in your organization playing with all the very friendly, easy-to-use AI tools that are out there. CIOs should lead by example.

See Dave Aron at his Gartner Symposium/ITxpo sessions:

  • Closing the Gap Between the AI Opportunity and Corporate Reality (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Digital Business Needs Advanced Business Case Practices (Tokyo, Japan)

  Janelle B hill vice president and distinguished analyst

In 2019, CIOs should look to experiment with digital twins.

See Janelle Hill at her Gartner Symposium/ITxpo sessions:

  • The AI Revolution: Learn Then Leap (Orlando, FL)
  • Learn to Innovate: Innovate to Learn (Gold Coast, Australia)

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