A January Forrester report, titled the Future of IT, detailed what the firm calls “immersive IT,” predicting that this trend “will demand an environment in which the boundaries between IT and the overall business fade, with much more powerful and fluid IT capabilities becoming immersed in the very core of the business.”

Given the rate at which digital transformation is happening across industries, this isn’t a surprising statement. However, in an InformationWeek article about the report, Forrester’s Craig Le Clair cautioned that organizations still have some work to do to prepare for the era of immersive IT. Much of this work can be summed up in a few key skills necessary for CIOs and IT leaders:

Think Strategically

Le Clair sees a future in which CEOs and the boardroom place a high value on IT, with technology leaders increasingly being invited to serve on boards themselves. The tech execs who can think strategically and help educate their colleagues and counterparts on how to derive the most value from their tech investments are those who will be best primed for success.

Financial Fluidity

The fast-paced nature of the digital enterprise will soon make annual budget cycles a thing of the past. To meet shifting needs, Forrester believes companies will embrace more flexible approaches to budgets and funding. This, in turn, will require IT leaders to adopt less rigid thinking when it comes to technology financials.

Greater Inclusivity

Le Clair envisions a future in which there is no distinction between IT and line-of-business employees. According to the report, “Business leaders will move into an immersive, team-driven partnership with IT as the underlying technology [becoming] inseparable from the offering, experience and financial performance.” This means there will be no room for an “us vs. them” mindset, pushing technology leaders to collaborate with other departments as a single team working toward shared goals.

Soft Skills

The changes outlined above will require CIOs and other IT execs to hone their soft skills. Given that these abilities are often in limited supply—a Capgemini study found more companies identified a lack of soft skills than digital skills—many organizations will have their work cut out for them.

And New Skills

As immersive IT becomes a reality, Forrester predicts that the CIO role will be part venture capitalist, part architect, and part orchestrator. Forrester estimates that just 20 percent of today’s CIOs are ready for this change, yet also warns IT leaders not to ignore their current roles and chief responsibility to keep core systems running.

Check out the InformationWeek piece here for more on these and other skills necessary in the age of immersive IT.