An example is supply chain modernization, for which companies often look to blockchain. However, a key supply chain need is also to get accurate data as quickly as possible, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is a viable technology to explore.
CIOs investing in supply chain improvements are likely to benefit more by investing in experiments that combine blockchain and IoT together, rather than conducting isolated proofs of concept for each technology.
Cluster: Identify which emerging technologies and trends naturally fit together for the most value at a feature level
This is about identifying the features of different emerging technologies, including operational technologies, that work together well to create new or greater value.
The conventional approach is to use some or all of the features within an emerging technology together and only connect to other technologies and systems for data integration needs. Clustering, however, goes a step beyond by also exploring and identifying features across different technologies that can be combined into new features or that strengthen each other.
CIOs need to encourage such exploration and facilitate unique value creation activity across technologists who specialize in individual emerging technologies.
Read more: 5 Emerging Technologies Explained by Gartner Experts
One example is blockchain and AI technology in medical devices. Machine learning can extract intelligence from them, but often, their owners want their records to remain private and are reluctant to share them with others.
Blockchain technology enables each owner to encrypt their data with their own key and still allow for common computation on top. This provides an assurance mechanism for data storage, while simultaneously enabling machine learning algorithms to learn from the data.
Complement: Identify secondary effects of adoption of emerging technologies
As technologies and trends are adopted, they will have impact on areas beyond their primary use. These secondary effects provide complementary opportunities for combinatorial digital innovation.
For example, the adoption of smartphones kickstarted the ability to create ride-sharing services such as Uber and DiDi Chuxing. And the adoption of peer-to-peer (P2P) online commerce, using auction sites such as eBay, created the need for secure payment systems such as PayPal.
It is vital that CIOs consider the whole picture of the impact of emerging technologies, including the main usage scenarios and complementary areas. They should plan for a broader view to identify complementary opportunities, even if they choose to move ahead with specific projects in today’s business context.