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Today’s business environment has become increasingly technology-centric; as a result, it demands a new kind of technology leader. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) now have to speak both to the business and to technical teams, all while keeping up with the latest innovations, improving internal processes, and ensuring that they continue to increase the business’ bottom line.

The business asks a lot from CIOs — after all, they are often on point to lead their companies’ digital transformation — so how can they best keep up? CIOs learn best from the experience of other technology leaders in the field, who can provide key insight on the latest trends and how to best tackle them.

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That’s why we recently held a number of CIO roundtables to encourage invaluable discussions across the world––from Singapore to London. In the UK, CIOs across various industries – from financial services and media to transportation/logistics, and retail – came together to discuss their experiences on emerging technology trends.

Here are 3 takeaways from that discussion.

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1. The subscription-based model is disrupting businesses of all types

Increasingly, we are seeing a growing shift away from a pay-per-product business model; instead, companies are moving towards a subscription-based business model. Companies part of the subscription economy have become disruptors in their respective industries–-think Adobe, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Unilever’s Dollar Shave Club.  

In order to build or transition into a successful subscription-based model, companies will have to:  

  • Build deeper, more personalized relationships with customers. This requires companies to unite customer data from different applications, systems, and data sources (e.g. CRMs, ERPs, social media, etc.) in order to build a 360-degree view of the customer and deliver a more personalized experience to them based on their background, demographics, location, purchase history, and more.  
  • Scale the business’ infrastructure efficiently and more quickly. Scaling the business’ infrastructure and technologies is important, especially as the business grows. This requires adopting critical technologies (e.g. marketing, payment, and eCommerce systems) that are not only integrated together, but support scale for when a business goes from 100 to 1000 customers.
  • Extract invaluable insights and metrics about the business and its customers. Data is all around us. Businesses have invaluable data locked behind legacy systems, SaaS applications, and other data sources. In order to build a successful subscription model, businesses must not only unlock the underlying data within these systems, but also use that data to extract invaluable insights and metrics about the business and its customers.

It is no wonder that subscription-based models are disrupting businesses of all types. In the month of April 2017 alone, for example, subscription company websites garnered nearly 37 million visitors––an 800% increase from 2014.

2. Differentiation through best-of-breed technology is important

Today, the most successful businesses are those that evolve and adopt a “best-of-breed” approach to their enterprise ecosystem. This involves adopting applications and services from the best providers in the respective space (e.g. Salesforce for CRM). This approach enables businesses to transform into a digital platform and, in turn, leverage that platform to build the surrounding ecosystem necessary to compete in today’s digital world. Examples of this include Wells Fargo, Lyft, Airbnb, and more.

Take the example of Airbnb, outlined in a previous blog post. Airbnb created the core components of their platform by leveraging best-of-breed technology and connecting them, instead of building these technologies from scratch. For example, they leverage the SendGrid API for marketing emails; the Twilio API, for text messages; an internal payment API, for transactions; and many others.

By building a business as a platform, Airbnb created an ecosystem of best-of-breed technology that allowed them to reach unprecedented size and scale and more importantly, enabled them to extend their business boundaries by focusing on innovation and what they do best.

3. Experimentation with data is key to innovating more quickly

There is a plethora of data available to organizations and all this data is growing faster than ever before. By 2020, there will be over 40 Zettabytes (or 40 trillion gigabytes) of data generated, imitated, and consumed. This opens up new opportunities for businesses to congregate and pull together disparate data to substantially improve decision-making, minimize risk, and unearth valuable insights that would otherwise remain hidden.

From this, organizations can create an even-narrower perspective of the consumer and, in turn, better tailor products and services. For example, retailers can easily optimize their stock based on predictive models generated from the social media data, web search trends, and even weather forecasts.

Join us at the next MuleSoft CIO roundtable in the UK

Inspired by some of the takeaways from this year’s CIO roundtable? Then join us at the next one in 2018 to get even more invaluable insights! Check out upcoming events near you today.