Tech Trends 2014

Explore 10 trends that offer CIOs the opportunity to shape tomorrow and to transform “business as usual.”

Welcome to Deloitte’s fifth annual Technology Trends report. Each year, we study the ever-evolving technology landscape, focusing on disruptive trends that are transforming business, government, and society. Once again, we’ve selected 10 topics that have the opportunity to impact organizations across industries, geographies, and sizes over the next 18 to 24 months.

The theme of this year’s report is Inspiring Disruption. In it, we discuss 10 trends that exemplify the unprecedented potential for emerging technologies to reshape how work gets done, how businesses grow, and how markets and industries evolve. These disruptive technologies challenge CIOs to anticipate their potential organizational impacts. And while today’s demands are by no means trivial, the trends we describe offer CIOs the opportunity to shape tomorrow—to inspire others, to create value, and to transform “business as usual.”

The list of trends is developed using an ongoing process of primary and secondary research that involves:

  • Feedback from client executives on current and future priorities
  • Perspectives from industry and academic luminaries
  • Research by alliance partners, industry analysts, and competitor positioning
  • Crowdsourced ideas and examples from our global network of practitioners

As in prior years, we’ve organized the trends into two categories. Disruptors are areas that can create sustainable positive disruption in IT capabilities, business operations, and sometimes even business models. Enablers are technologies in which many CIOs have already invested time and effort, but that warrant another look because of new developments, new capabilities, or new potential use cases. Each trend is presented with multiple examples of adoption to show the trend at work. This year, we’ve added a longer-form Lesson from the front lines to each chapter to offer a more detailed look at an early use case. Also, each chapter includes a personal point of view in the My take section.

Information technology continues to be dominated by five forces: analytics, mobile, social, cloud, and cyber. Their continuing impact is highlighted in chapters dedicated to wearables, cloud orchestration, social activation, and cognitive analytics. Cyber is a recurring thread throughout the report: more important than ever, but embedded into thinking about how to be secure, vigilant, and resilient in approaching disruptive technologies.

For the first time, we’ve added a section dedicated to what our contributing authors at Singularity University refer to as “exponential” technologies. We highlight five innovative technologies that may take longer than our standard 24-month time horizon for businesses to harness them—but whose eventual impact may be profound. Examples include artificial intelligence, robotics, and additive manufacturing (3-D printing). The research, experimentation, and invention behind these “exponentials” are the building blocks for many of our technology trends. Our goal is to provide a high-level introduction to each exponential—a snapshot of what it is, where it comes from, and where it’s going.

Each of the 2014 trends is relevant today. Each has significant momentum and potential to make a business impact. And each warrants timely consideration—even if the strategy is to wait and see. But whatever you do, don’t be caught unaware—or unprepared. Use these forces to inspire, to transform. And to disrupt.

We welcome your comments, questions, and feedback. And a sincere “thank you” to the many executives and organizations that have helped provide input for Tech Trends 2014; your time and insights were invaluable. We look forward to your continued innovation, impact, and inspiration.

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Bill Briggs

Bill Briggs is the chief technology officer of Deloitte Consulting LLP and global lead of Deloitte Digital. He helps clients address their technology challenges—and anticipate the impact that new and emerging technologies may have on their business in the future.



Aaron Sotelo, Abdi Goodzari, Adarsh Gosu, Amy Bergstrom, Andrew Luedke, Angel Vaccaro, Ann Perrin, Antonio Caroprese, Chad Clay, Chrissy Weaver, Dan LaCross, Dan McManus, Daniel Ledger, Daryl Jackson, Dennis Startsev, Derik Quinn, Ed Panzarella, Elizabeth Rielly, George Collins, Gina Marchlowska, Irfan Saif, Jarrod Phipps, Jeff Powrie, John Daab, John Keith, John Stefanchik, John Sprouse, Jon Wiesner, Jostin Darlington, Junko Kaji, Kavin Shelat, Keith Zalaznik, Kevin Weier, Kumar Chebrolu, Lisa Iliff, Maria Gutierrez, Martin Hougaard, Matt Lennert, Missy Hyatt, Navin Advani, Nicole Leung, Oliver Page, Paul Krein, Paul Roma, Paul Toler, Prabhu Kapaleeswaran, Rajeswari Chandrasekaran, Ram Venkateswaran, Rithu Thomas, Robert Kasegrande, Sandy Ono, Steven Bailey, Steven Shepley, Tara Newton, Travis Budisalovich, Trey McAdams, Troy Bishop, Vladimir Baranek, Yu Zhu


Leads: Tom Carroll, Chris Chang, Tore Dyvik, Justin Franks, Thomas Gleason, Rui He, Thomas Henry, Karthik Kumar, Nicole Leung, Simy Matharu, Abhishek Mishra, Jose Munoz, Paridhi Nadarajan, Akshai Prakash, Fatema Samiwala, Jeremy Young

Team Members: Jacob Artz, Anwar Ayub, Rachel Belzer, Simeon Bochev, Kevin Bojarski, Mark Brindisi, Alex Carlon, Felix Cheng, Judy Chiu, Eugene Chou, Ian Clasbey, Kyle Collins, Kevin Craig, Brian Cusick, Philip Davis, Michael Davis, Jefferson DeLisio, Zach Epstein, Inez Foong, Marjorie Galban, Leksi Gawor, Rachana Gogate, Calvin Hawkes, Taylor Hedberg, Dan Heinitsh, Dan Henebery, Seimi Huang, Sam Jamison, Simon Jo, Solomon Kassa, Rebecca Kim, Ryo Kondo, Adrian Kosciak, Ashish Kumar, Varun Kumar, Corey Lian, Alyssa Long, Pulkit Maheshwari, Ryan Malone, Tyler Martin, David Melnick, Akhil Modi, Alice Ndikumana, Kashaka Nedd, Brittany Neisewander, Ryan Pallathra, Aaron Patton, Lee Reed, Talal Rojas, Tammy Ross, Jaclyn Saito, Hugh Shepherd, Will Shepherdson, Andrea Shome, Kylene Smart, Sam Soneja, Gayathri Sreekanth, Xenia Strunnikova, Lindsey Tsuya, Peter Van, Jordan Weyenberg, Jenny Zheng

Special thanks

Mariahna Moore—for being the heart, soul, and “buck” of this year’s report—where every detail started and stopped, big or small. Your tireless leadership, spirit, and drive are truly inspirational and a singular reason we hit every ambition without compromising seemingly impossible deadlines.

Cyndi Switzer, Stuart Fano, Jill Gramolini, Kelly Ganis, and Heidi Boyer—the veteran dream team that makes Technology Trends a reality. Your passion, creativity, and vision continue to take the report to new heights. And your dedication, energy, and commitment never cease to amaze.

Dana Kublin, Mark Stern, and Elizabeth Rocheleau—for the tremendous impact made in your first year Tech Trending—from the phenomenal infographics to coordinating our volunteer army to jumping into the content fray.

Finally, a special thanks to Mark White, the founder of our Technology Trends report series and an invaluable contributor, mentor, and friend. Thanks for all of your continued support as we build on your legacy.

Tech Trends 2014, Introduction
Cover Image by Celia Johnson