Emerging technologies are the stuff IT dreams are made of. Their potential to improve processes, productivity and profits are a big part of what makes IT so fascinating. But CIOs know they can't just install a new system and expect instant, automatic results. That's why, in CIO Insight's 2007 Emerging Technologies Survey, we not only track the status of 48 potentially important technologies but we explore the management practices that help IT executives turn the promise of those technologies into payoffs. We also examine the track records of 18 technologies that appeared in previous years' emerging technology surveys and have since reached an adoption rate of 25 percent or higher.
This year, we found IT executives particularly intrigued by Web video, a wide variety of Internet and Web 2.0 technologies, and virtualization. CIOs hope these technologies will deliver business value, just as widely adopted technologies like Web services and voice over IP (VoIP) have done at most companies. But to maximize benefit, CIOs and their employers will have to be agile: They'll need resources to investigate and test promising new technologies, processes to quickly adopt promising new technologies and cultures that encourage experimentation. In addition, CIOs must involve business executives in the hunt for new technologies and be open to new ideas, whether those ideas come from IT professionals, other employees or outside the company. Whether or not your company is an early, mainstream or late adopter, such practices help CIOs get the biggest payoff from emerging technologies.