As 2016 business plans begin to take shape, it is a good time to evaluate organizational priorities. The role of the Chief Information Officer is expanding and becoming more customer-facing, as the position plays a larger function in client acquisition and relations. When the CIO and IT department are behind on trends, it’s evident at the forefront of customer retention, as customers have become increasingly dependent on and understanding of technology.

To be successful, the CIO has to be fluent on the technologies essential to his company’s products and services. This creates a culture of trust with the customer, who understands that the CIO and his team will have an answer when posed with a difficult technical or security-related question, and will be able to provide sound advice and implementation. With this in mind, there are technology improvements, trends and applications that CIOs should add to their “2016 holiday wish list” to ensure that their department is maximizing it’s potential improvement, business growth and customer impact.

To Be Successful, The CIO Has To Be Fluent On The Technologies Essential To His Company’s Products And Services

Below are 3 trends in 2016:

1. Data Response Rates

Organizations are creating more data than ever before. Customer activity, security logging and best practices, and storage and analysis of data all contribute to this, as applications are generating more data at all times. What technology departments can glean from this data can be beneficial to revenue streams, growth and process innovation. Its effectiveness, however, is tied to the organization’s ability to respond to data.

Using predictive analytics makes IT planning and implementation easier and more transparent, and can only be done if an organization is able to quickly and efficiently process data. Other value realized through predictive analytics includes detection, prevention and remediation of fraud, risk calculation, and a better understanding of customer and partner tendencies. Combining big data and predictive analytics can be a challenge, but if done correctly it can provide benefits in a number of key areas.

2. Cloud Adoption

The current technology landscape has differing viewpoints on cloud technology, and the risk and benefits associated with its implementation. Security concerns are paramount for those that choose to employ cloud-based solutions, and problems such as unauthorized access or hijacking of accounts give CIOs a reason to proceed with caution. Despite the risks, however, the majority of organizations utilize cloud services or are planning to implement some type of cloud services solution in 2016. This is due to the potential increase in revenue, reduction in IT costs and business benefits, which are too great to ignore.

The CIO will be at the forefront of the implementation discussion, and should be encouraging organizations to strongly consider adding a smart, secure cloud services model. To do so, the first step is to ensure that preventative measures are taken against security risks. This includes taking an inventory of potential human security risks through the use of personal cloud storage solutions, and using the information to create consistent and clear cloud security policies within the organization. It’s important to implement a solid strategy for protecting sensitive data (toxic data) through encryption, which is one of the most effective ways to secure data in the cloud. And lastly, because the cloud landscape and potential risk for cyberattacks will continue to evolve, it’s important that the cloud security solution is transparent and shares the continuous promise of improvement.

3. Hyperconvergence

Hyperconverged infrastructures, or computing infrastructures for virtual workloads, are rapidly becoming an IT trend that will continue to interest CIOs in 2016. Offering the ability to integrate computer, storage, networking and virtualization resources in a software-centric infrastructure, hyperconvergence allows these technologies to be managed as a single system. These systems are designed to scale out and add other software modules, and give the CIO a degree of flexibility in creating a software infrastructure. One benefit that hyperconvergence provides is the consolidation of the data center footprint.

Organizations will look to employ hyperconverged infrastructures in 2016 as we continue to see this trend progress. Hyperconverged systems will provide advantages of simple designs and management, leading to the ultimate goal of improved ef­ficiency, reduced operational com­plexities, and flexibility in managing quick changes due to growth require­ments. For CIOs planning to employ this type of solution in 2016, it’s im­portant to first evaluate the organiza­tion’s current system strengths and weaknesses and address any prob­lems prior to making the decision to adopt hyperconvergence.

With the ever-changing tech­nology landscape, new additions to this list will come and go. The goal for CIOs in 2016 is to stay on top of trends, utilizing what’s available for both employees and customers. The end result of implementing policies from this wish list is to keep employ­ees engaged and efficient, which in turn increases productivity and leads to satisfied customers.

Founded in 1992, Ceridian is a global human capital management technology company serving more than 50 countries. The company is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.