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How should a CIO prepare for the metaverse?

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are watching the metaverse unfold from the sidelines. Even if you are not a believer in the concept, competitor CIOs are doing their due diligence, why aren't you?
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The Metaverse trend

According to a forecast by IT research and consultancy company, Gartner, 25 percent of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse within the next four years. Whether it be for team working, education, shopping, working or for entertainment. The concept and definition of the metaverse can, of course, vary and it is unclear how the metaverse will look like in 2026.

A range of different companies, including Meta (Facebook), Microsoft, Nvidia and Decentraland, are laying the groundwork to create their own metaverse platforms to build virtual empires. What you do in the real world today will, to a small or large extent, be transferred to the virtual realm. You can already do a whole lot. Just check out some of the most innovative startups making it happen already this year.

Read more: Top 5 Tech Startups in the Metaverse to Watch in 2022

Photo credit: Steve Johnson

The changing landscape is undoubtedly still on shaky ground as to how to prepare for this new reality. If you’re a startup or established company, this can create a sense of anxiousness, particularly among CIOs (Chief Information Officers) responsible or executing the implementation of information and digital technologies.

How could it not?

Some are saying it’s a speculative hype cycle (actually, 78% of Americans), while others are adamant that it’s the future and that you must act now.

For a balanced view on this subject, The Metaverse by Manuel Robins* provides an excellent overview on the subject.

For a CIO, there are many things to consider when considering anything to do with the metaverse as the subject is broad and there’s quite a lot of ground to cover.

A big topic that has come from larger corporations has been the buying of virtual real estate or, at least, showcasing and transferring some of their branding to this virtual world.

So what should a CIO do when being pressured about calls for the company to buy virtual real estate, for instance?

The biggest recommendation, as with anything to do with the metaverse in these initial stages:

Proceed cautiously

Don’t go spending the entire company budget on land in some new, unknown virtual world because you read one article on a blog (even this one).

If your company has devoted a fixed budget that allows you to take some risk then buy small properties just to experiment, but don’t make any big bets yet. But this does not mean that they should not be ready for a potential future that could look like the dot com bubble in the 90s. Today, a company that does not exist on the internet does not exist at all.

Photo credit: Mo

As the metaverse approaches, organizations should understand that they should should look into having three locations – physical, on the internet and in the metaverse.

Look around you: a bag of opportunity

Why do you think we reached this situation in the first place?

The metaverse is a solution. It fixes a problem that resulted from people going online because of the pandemic. As a result, some of them had the chance to attend classes or work meetings through a window on their desktop computer. This was just the first step.

But the temporary solution that resulted from the pandemic was that it created another problem. Students and employees alike would get distracted by the many windows open on the same browser and, as such, the attention was divided and unfocused. CIOs need to realize that it is, first and foremost, a solution.

How does the metaverse solve this?

With full immersion, through the use of a VR headset, would make sure that the person is “really there”, because should the person take off the headset, this would in many cases disconnect him or her from the world.

The return of undivided attention would be a tremendous advantage for salespeople and marketers, college professors and employers.

The point is that CIOs should recognize that the future may come with a vast array of advantages that would make it easier to control (as dystopian as that sounds) your workforce. Don’t expect to penetrate the metaverse landscape just because you have to. Embrace it and it may come with a bag of gifts.

Photo credit: Razan Chisu

Get educated: attend metaverse educational workshops and read books

Although for most CIOs the metaverse might remain a futuristic concept, it does not have to be so for you. The hype around it has undoubtedly created a funnel of articles on the subject and it has become more mainstream to read about new developments surrounding it. You clicked on this article because you want to receive some practical tips, after all.

The problem with coverage in the news these days is that it assumes that the reader is a metaverse expert that has followed the subject since the beginning of time. This is why a very popular google search term in 2022 is: “what is the metaverse?”. People want it explained to them in an easy way.

Yes, simple explanations and overviews are fine, but there is tremendous value when you go deep into the subject and immerse yourself (no pun intended) in the topic.

A simple explainer on what the metaverse is does not solve any particular issues in your own industry. A more relevant search, if you’re working in finance, would be “metaverse advantages for banks“.

General information about the metaverse is still useful, of course, as it is a great way of spotting new trends on the market. But you still need to take that deep dive into your area of business.

We have selected three metaverse books that may be useful to start with (affiliate links):

  1. The Metaverse: And How it Will Revolutionize Everything by Matthew Ball
  2. The Metaverse: A Professional Guide by Tom Ffiske
  3. Navigating the Metaverse: A Guide to Limitless Possibilities in a Web 3.0 World by Hackl. et al.

A final note would be: start today

Even if you’re not a believer in the concept, it is useful to understand what others are saying and how they are preparing for the future. Your competitors are certainly doing their own due diligence – why aren’t you?

Analysts predict that by 2026, 30% of organizations will have products and services ready for the metaverse. Therefore, it would make sense to start your educational and professional metaverse journey by planning for it now.

*An Evolvera affiliate link

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